One of the least expensive (and can be totally FREE) forms of exercise great for our body and brain is DANCING! This is not news to our subscribers, of course! But it is worth knowing WHY this is so. And being able to reference 3rd party evidence makes it more credible and easier to share with your students, grantors and donors!
This post is a follow up to Dr. Hanna Ian’s post on dance (movement) helping those with invisible disabilities (Dance Helps Unseen Disabilities, July 20, 2021). Scrolling through my LinkedIn posts shortly after reading Dr. Hanna’s post, I saw Nicole Romine’s (Arizona Dance Coalition member) thumbs up on a TED Talk (Nov 2017) by Wendy Suzuki: The brain-changing benefits of exercise. Some of the points Dr. Hanna mentions are also mentioned by Wendy (worth a watch – she has a sense of humor, too).
To summarize, Wendy (neuroscientist) discovered the following positive changes after months of exercising (a new activity in her life) — which included dancing: better mood (endorphins), more energy, better attention, and enhanced memory. After months on a regular exercise program, she found grant writing was going well! (Maybe I should market dancing to grant writers!!!) She was able to maintain better focus and recall more information/details for her research/writing. Upon reflection, she concluded it was EXERCISE (aerobic) making her life and work better. Her brain was working better! (Ah, don’t all of us wish we could say that?)
These are the three reasons exercise (minimum: 3-4/week, 30 minutes, aerobic) is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today, according to Wendy:
- immediate effect on your brain (endorphins: dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline)
- ability to shift and focus attention (lasts up to 2 hours after exercise)
- improved reaction time
PLUS there is the ‘protective’ factor. By making the brain ‘muscle’ stronger, you reduce the risk of brain disease and normal cognitive decline in aging.
As for FREE, you don’t have to spend any money to achieve these results. Wendy suggests climbing stairs, walking, and POWER VACUUMING! All of these three can be performed to ‘motivating music’ making us dance. Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson and Shirley Temple tapped up and down stairs! Just be careful. And I make a point to grapevine walking up hills (despise uphill). Try 2-steppin’ and give passersby something to look at. Maybe they will join you. [sidetracking: Did you see the Facebook post about the sidewalk decal – STAND HERE FOR DANCE PARTY? 100 undercover dancers recruited by Improv Everywhere were blending in the area, walking around the sidewalks or sitting on benches, just waiting for someone to stand on the decal, triggering a massive dance party. How cool is THAT?]
A more recent article written by Mary Halton (science journalist), Why your brain loves it when you exercise, plus 3 easy ways to work out at home, was published by IDEAS.TED.COM (Feb 2, 2021). Mary references Wendy’s TED TALK where Wendy suggests exercising in the morning so you can reap the benefits during your workday. Ultimately, you have to choose the time that works best for you.
The article also includes 3 very short TikTok clips of Justin Agustin, a personal trainer based in Montreal, Canada, demonstrating short workouts you can do at home or in a very small space that don’t require special equipment or choreography (targeting those stuck at home during the pandemic). Give them a watch.
Am definitely sharing this post with my fellow GPA Grant Professionals Association members. We explore all possible ways of making grant writing better, easier.
Krystyna Parafinczuk, ADC Treasurer, Arizona Dance e-Star editor/designer
gro.noitilaocecnadzanull@anytsyrk | 520-743-1349
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