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Let’s go back to yesteryear

  • Let’s Dance! Put on your Red shoes and dance the blues…
  • Dancing Queen
  • Flashdance: What a Feeling
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Footloose

What do you inherently want to do? DANCE!

Just like movement and storytelling, dance is an ancient behavior that comes naturally to all of us – even if you think you’ve got no rhythm, two left feet, can’t co-ordinate and count, and you’ll never get the hang of a “step-change” in time…

One of the things I’ve missed most in lockdown is a good old dance party with my favourite old dance tracks and a few new ones all thrown into the mix. Whilst the days of dancing on the table are long behind me, there’s nothing that makes me feel more joyful and alive than dancing.

My 50th was, of course, a dance party!

Dancing alone is fantastic, but dancing with friends is better!

Dancing with friends creates a joyful connection, a shared experience, brings all the “remember when” memories flooding back as you hear music from your past, and you get to have a good laugh when you try and rock the old “Saturday Night Fever” sequence and can’t really get it together anymore.

If movement is medicine, dance is a cure for anything.

You know I believe that movement is medicine, and dance is movement, right? We produce a load of feel good chemicals – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins that lift our mood and make us feel great.

Not only is dancing a great anti-depressant, it’s also a fantastic way to relieve pain. For those of us with chronic pain – no matter which part of your body is suffering, when you dance, you’re in control of how you move. It’s not competitive and you can focus on moving the areas of your body that aren’t sore with greater motion that the parts that you need to be more gentle with.

Your moves don’t matter – it’s the movement that counts!

My business partner periodically suffers with serious back issues, and after a dreadful period of pain from a problematic disc, he decided not to have surgery and to try to work through the pain. After months he ended up being treated by an Osteopath who gave him the instruction to spend the weekend dancing and … having sex outside on the grass. Needless to say his wife was fine with the dancing, but not so much with the sex part of the instruction.

During this crazy time of lockdown and isolation – no matter the level – we are all feeling so disconnected, and I for one have weeks where I feel totally miserable, down, and have absolutely no lightness of being. My quick fix is a 15 minute dance around my bathroom (it’s quite spacious) to one of my favorite playlists. I dance and sing with freedom and abandon because there’s definitely no one watching!

Doctor’s Orders!

And if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Dr Peter Lovatt, otherwise known as “Dr Dance”. After decades of studying the impact of movement on how we think, feel and behave, his latest book “The Dance Cure” unpacks why dancing makes us smarter, stronger and happier. His mantra: You move, you improve.

I’m with Dr Lovatt on this. Exercise doesn’t have to be hard. Just moving regularly will have great impact on your body and mind – movement is what changed my life, so I know this firsthand.

Important Side note: TheOptimal.me’s Integrated Movement Routines (IMRs) are actually a wonderful combination of dance and a ‘traditional’ workout with the squats and lunges we all know. Give them a try if you know you’re in need of guided movement [link]. We’ve made sure all the music gets you grooving and  in the mood to move. 

So I’m dreaming up some dance plans because I’m just missing it! Watch this space.

TheOptimal.me, Liz Grantham signature, functional movement, physical freedom