Ballet has several obvious benefits for the body, but did you know ballet can be just as good for the mind? Research in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that dancing dramatically reduces the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to balance yourself and react to external stimuli is indicative of how tuned your sensorimotor skills are. Participating in a ballet or dance program enhances these skills by engaging both hemispheres of the brain for coordinated learning. Similar to learning a new sport, becoming proficient in ballet challenges your brain to synchronize your form with the expectations. And if you have a little one that's interested in dance, it can be just as beneficial for them. To children, dance presents an opportunity to challenge gross motor skills, memory and balance, which helps to boost their cognitive development.
BALLET FOR THE BODY:
Ballet is an excellent form of exercise for numerous reasons. It requires the use of good postural alignment. Each movement requires an alertness of how you carry yourself from one stance to the other. For this reason, many ballet classes teach alignment exercises, which help with posture corrections and create awareness of alignment even when not in class. Ballet also uses both static stretches that are held with no movement for a period of time, and dynamic stretches in which you repeatedly move your joints and muscles through a full range of motion – making it great for promoting flexibility. Plus, ballet uses muscles that aren’t used as often in other sports - giving you a total body flexibility workout. And, ballet tones and firms the muscles by using your own body weight to strengthen your core and lower body.
BALLET FOR THE SOUL:
Ah, the soul… With so many physical benefits to ballet, it’s easy to forget that ballet is an art form first. And as a form of artistic expression, ballet can be quite therapeutic for the soul. Ballet is great source for stress relief. When you take a ballet class, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to that of morphine. Also, being able to master a complicated series of movements can be a great boost in self-esteem and confidence – making ballet great for reducing depression. And interacting with others in class provides a great opportunity to make friends as you learn and grow together from new experiences.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and drop in on a class! In the meantime, if you're looking for a little inspiration, be sure to check out the video of professional bodybuilders trying ballet for the first time. You may also like: THE SUITE | How to Start Ballet as a Grown Ass Adult, Crazy Abs, Butt, & Legs + Playlist or Stella Fit | 5 Low Calorie Summer Cocktails + Playlist.