|Posted by Melissa Di Natale on February 18, 2011 at 5:34 PM|
Improved blood flow to the brain keeps it in good shape. Learning new routines encourages the brain to produce new dendrites (connections between nerve cells), which help your brain to store and retrieve information more easily. In other words, Zumba works your body and your mind!
But it does more than that. Physiological changes occur in your body that alter moods. If you’ve come to a Zumba class, you’ve probably experienced this first hand.
“Dance gets you into your body,” says Nancy Cassman, a dance/movement therapist and founder of Express Your Self, a dance and movement center in Boulder, Colo. “In our society, people sit at desks and on couches all the time, and we’ve become very brain-oriented,” she points out. “Dance bridges the gap between the brain and the body so that you tap into your physical, emotional, spiritual and mental being.”
Cassman believes wholeheartedly that when you start moving your body, you’ll start moving the energy in your life too. One reason is that dance releases endorphins, so it functions as a mood enhancer. Part of her work as a movement therapist is exploring how and where people experience emotion in the body.
In dance movement therapy, movement – especially the sensual, rhythmic response aroused by dance and music – is used as a way of bypassing the conscious mind and making contact with the inner emotional world. Through dance, hidden emotions can be expressed in a nonverbal way and accepted by the conscious self.