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The Athletic Club

of Overland Park
7 May 2014

Oooh I wanna dance with somebody…at the Friday Night Overland Park Dance Party!

Oohhh I wanna dance with Somebody… you should too!

Oops I just lost about 30% of my readers. You shook your head and said- “Nope! There is no rhythm or coordination in this body…”, or  “I don’t dance”. Others think “Dancing is for young people out clubbing and shaking what the lord gave them— The lord taketh mine away a long time ago”

Whatever dialogue you had within yourself (or out loud). Dancing is more that meets the eye- there may be enough reasons here to convince you to let the rhythm sink in.

From our earliest moments in the womb we had rhythm. Our bodies operate on rhythm. Our heartbeat breathing, and speech follow a rhythm. Music affects babies in utero. It can increase functions like heart rate, brain activity in pleasure, relaxation, joy, stress or fear, and excitement regions of the brain. As infants and toddlers we learn speech through music- The alphabet song, memory sticks when the information is put to a song- the 50 states song. Pain is reduced through rhythm- soothing rocking and tones are offered when there has been a boo boo.  As we grow into children and adolescents music, dance, and rhythm are all around us. We don’t fight it or stop ourselves from experiencing it. We allow our bodies to move, to wildly run around the room, to feel the emotion that comes from a love song, and fall asleep peacefully.

So why as adults do we not do more of these simple practices. Science has shown that music and dancing develops and activates specific substructures of the brain, more specifically substructures in the the left hemisphere.  Movement to music has the following benefits to adults:

  • Increases

o   Flexibility

o    Heart health

o    Muscular strength

o   Weight loss

o   Bone density

o   Coordination and balance

o   Memory

o   Confidence/Social network

o   Overall enjoyment

o   Resistance to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, various cancers

Where can you find dancing that doesn’t require a foam finger or dropping anything hot?

Start small! Turn your favorite music on while you’re cleaning, folding clothes, cooking, working on a project, or just reading a book. Research shows that rhythm is ingrained into our subconscious! We begin to keep a beat without even realizing it. We begin tapping our foot. Or nod our head- or move depending what music is playing. Feel the beat and let it move you. I bet you will feel lighter and happier.

Dance with kids! Imagine their reaction if you joined them in their silliness. Kids are carefree and have no idea what they are doing! They just move. Follow their lead- be silly, laugh, and know that it’s likely the safest place to express yourself- kids are wonderfully judgment free!

 If you have a partner and both of you want to give it a try- consider taking dance lessons. There are dozens of styles of dance- for every level of fitness.  The community opens up when you meet other people learning these styles. Socialization is a great bonus to dancing.

Check with your gym or community center for dance classes. Zumba is a fun fitness class that blends a variety of dance styles to upbeat motivating music. Instructors provide routines that are easy to follow.

The Athletic Club offers several Zumba classes throughout the week. Classes are free for members. Every second Friday from 5:30-6:30 is Friday Night Overland Park Dance Party.  This Zumba-like hour allows instructors to branch out and create new exciting routines to today’s hottest songs. Party goers are invited to enjoy relaxation and libations in the Courtside Fresh Grill and Bar located on the first floor of the gym.

The annual Key-Lime Pool Party falls on the same night as the Friday Night Overland Park Dance Party in June. Friday June 13th the fun begins at 5:30pm with the dance party. Saunter by the Key-Lime Pool Party. For $7.25 you can get a plate of healthy grilled chicken or veggie Kabobs, cilantro lime rice, fresh fruit, grilled pineapple and dessert. Enjoy drink specials on the pool deck or patio or in the air-conditioned comfort of the cafe. Dinner is served from 6-7:30pm. Last call is at 9:30. 

All individuals can benefit from the addition of a fun, healthy, and beneficial habit. Make dancing your new summer hobby.