i just wanna dance the [pain] away

I’ve paraphrased the Mavericks there but I think they make a good point. Have your stretches and exercises become a bit boring? I know people don’t want to do the exercises they find either boring or not very helpful. So can something like dancing help? Surely something that’s fun can’t be good for you?!

I love the Britannica Dictionary’s definition of dancing:

Dance, the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.

I know I usually feel better after I’ve had a dance (dad dancing expert here), but can dancing actually help with your pain?

Murilla- Garcia et al. (2018) performed an interesting systematic review aimed at seeing what evidence there is that dancing can help with chronic pain (Fibromyalgia in this case). What they found is amazing – dancing for just 60 minutes, 1 – 2 times per week can:

  • Reduce your pain levels and the impact of fibromyalgia
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Improve your physical function – your ability carry out your normal daily activities
  • Improve mood and symptoms of depression
  • Reduces risk of falls (Gallo et al. 2019)
  • My bet is they had a big smile at the end of the session too.
Friends dancing with each other in a house with a live band in the background

How does it work?

Endorphin release – pain inhibitor

Muscle strengthening – Strong muscles are less liekly to get tired and ache

Conditioning the cardiovascular system – gets your lungs and heart working more efficiently

Distraction – forget your pain for an hour

Laughing – I’ve never seen a person dance without a smile on their face

Social bonding – we’re social creatures by nature and pain can be reduced by spending time with others

Where do I start?

Ann Widdicombe on Strictly Come dancing scoring very low

There is no right way to dance (although the Strictly Come Dancing judges would disagree with me), it’s all good, but here are a few suggestions to get you started!

  • Aquafit – this is a great way of dancing and is much easier on the joints and the water is nice and warm.
  • Zumba classes are becoming very popular with classes aimed at a variety of different abilities ran by a qualified professional.
  • Dance and do your own thing – all you need is space and a music player and you’re good to go.
  • Arrange a night out with friends and go out!

Important to note

  • Singing is optional – think of the neighbours
  • Make sure you have enough space and all potentially harmful objects are out of reach.
  • If you’re unsure of you balance, keep it to a two-step before hitting the headbangers.

So what song are you going to dance to? What song as soon as it starts playing it get you’re in the mood for a dance?

Let me know in the comments!


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