Oregon Federation of Square and Round Dance Clubs
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Square Dancing is the Official State Dance of Oregon

Dance For The Health Of It!!

We all know that Square Dancing is Fun, but is the activity a healthy form of exercise? You bet it is. It.s one of the best activities for both physical and mental health. A report a few years ago by the Mayo Clinic named square dancing the number 1 aerobic exercise, and the number 3 mental exercise. Other reports have had similar things to say.

Whether you.re swirling across the dance floor to a Strauss Waltz or doing do-si-dos to the commands of a square dance caller, you.re getting exercise - and probably having fun too.

Dancing pairs you up with more than a partner. From burning calories to socializing with friends, dancing offers these health benefits:

  • Calories - Dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. During a half-hour of dancing you can burn between 200 and 400 calories.
  • Cardiovascular Fitness . Dancing is a safe way to exercise. The level of exertion is up to each participant. You can rev it up for a high intensity workout or take it easy for a relaxing, yet beneficial workout. Dancing regularly can lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and an improved cholesterol profile. Experts typically recommend 30 - 40 minutes of continuous activity three or four times a week.
  • Strong Bones - The side to side movements of many dances strengthens your weight bearing bones (tibia, fibula and femur) and can help prevent or slow loss of bone mass (osteoporosis).
  • Rehabilitation - If you.re recovering from heart or knee surgery, movement may be part of your rehabilitation. Dancing is a positive alternative to aerobic dancing or jogging.
  • Sociability - Dancing contains a social component that solitary fitness endeavors do not. It gives you an opportunity to develop strong social ties which contribute to self-esteem and a positive outlook. .Healthy Environment . Square Dance, Round Dance & Contra Dance clubs are smoke and alcohol free.
  • Body & Brain Boost . Square, Round, & Contra dancers react to calls as they are given. This forces the body and brain to be tightly coordinated. A number of the calls are memorized which keeps the brain sharpCalorie Burn . Dancing burns between 200 and 400 calories every 30 minutes of dancing. That.s equivalent to walking or riding a bike
  • Distance . The President.s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends 10,00 steps per day to maintain physical fitness. It is estimated that a typical square dancer can expect to clock 9,000 to 10,000 steps per dance
  • Stress Relief . Since these 3 dance forms, Square Dancing, Round Dancing, & Contra Dancing, are all led by a leader giving commands, you become so focused on the .task at hand. that your other mental worries are forgotten, at least for a couple of hours
  • Metal Health . Studies have shown that activities that involve both physical mental activity at the same time help to slow the onset of Alzheimer.s disease
  • Balance . Studies have shown that adults who have a history of activities such as dance, tend to have less incidents of falling as they get older

Tomorrow night when you consider settling down for a little television, turn on the music instead. After a few spins around the living room, you.ll have so much fun you may forget you.re exercising.

Square Dancing will add ten years to your life. It combines all positive aspects of intense physical exercise with none of the negative elements. It is a low impact activity requiring constant movement and quick directional changes that help keep the body in shape. Square dance movements raise heart rates like many good aerobic exercises should. All the quick changes of direction loosen and tone up the muscles--but not so severally as to cause injury. In square dancing, when you.re not moving, you.re clapping hands and tapping your feet, which all contribute to long term fitness.

With all its moving, twisting, and turning, square dancing provides more than the daily dose of heart- and bone-healthy physical activity. Remembering all the calls -- from "do-si-do" to 'allemande' -- keeps the mind sharp, potentially staving off age-related memory loss, experts say. And the companionship that regular square dancing offers is an antidote to depression and loneliness, a statement confirmed by square-dancing advocates everywhere.

Healthy Dancing Brochure

Scott and Erin Byers, national caller and members of the Associated Square Dancers of Superior California (ASDCSC), has produced a tri-fold brochure outlining the health aspects of square dancing. Clubs are free to download, print and distribute this. Because it is a tri-fold, it looks a little odd on your computer. Remember that the front is the upper left pane. If you do print this, do it "double sided" and be sure to "flip on the short side", which is not the usual way you do double-sided printing. Click here to download the brochure.