Benefits of Dance

Dancing benefits an individual’s health, artistic abilities, emotional and mental life.  Dancing provides an outlet for individuals to enjoy participating in the occupation of fitness.  A lifetime of inactivity results in less than optimal quality of life in adults. Issues surrounding inactivity include greater percentages of body fat, poor cardiac conditioning, reduction in muscle mass, and less body strength, endurance and balance.

Physical benefits include fitness, coordination, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility and strengthens body muscles.  During a one-hour dance session, 200 to 500 calories can be burned with the continuous motion of dance. The femur, tibia, and fibula, the weight bearing bones, are strengthened with the side-to-side movements of most dance steps. Through the rhythmic movements in dance (hip drips, figure eights, circles, and shimmies), an individual can experience full range of motion in the lower back, hip joints, and ligaments which improves posture and increases muscle tone aiding in the prevention of lower back problems.

Intellectual benefits include intellectual stimulation, calculation and planning, sequential learning, patterns, spatial development, increased motivation to learn, mental flexibility, problem solving, holistic thinking, and improved academic performance.  Dance helps shape new interconnections in the older brain and allows the brain to work faster. The temporal and prefrontal brain activity increases because of dancing.  This results in the improvement of memory, improved attention, and the ability to multitask and plan.

Artistic benefits include arts appreciation, musicality, rhythmic expression, creative expression, imagination, and innovation.  Social benefits include team exploration and cooperation, communication, companionship and improvement in individual’s social outlook.  Dance allows people to come together socially and develop ties with fellow dancers, unlike solitary exercise, which only allows individuals to interact with themselves.

Individual benefits include confidence, self-esteem, listening skills, self-discipline, sense of accomplishment, persistence, accuracy and openness to new ideas.  By the dancer being in the moment, stress reduction will occur allowing stress and tension to be on pause while the dancer is absorbed in dance routines.  Endorphins are produced while an individual is dancing, allowing that individual to experience mood elevation. With all of these benefits of dance, it is only appropriate for occupational therapists to include dance therapy into treatment sessions if it fits the client’s interests.  Dance provides expression of the client’s innermost emotions while creating a sense of renewal and completeness.



Alpert, P. T. (2011). The health benefits of dance. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 23, 155-157. doi: 10.1177/1084822310384689<?

Dascomb, A. (2011). The benefits of dance. Retrieved from

Ladock, J. (2011). Health benefits of dance. Retrieved from


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