Ever asked a personal trainer, MD, or Registered Dietitian what the best exercise is? Chances are, you’ve heard something along the lines of “the one you’re most likely to do.”
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. We all know that exercise has numerous benefits for our physical and mental health, and I am all for finding a healthy relationship with exercise, just as you do with food. This means thinking of physical activity more as joyful movement versus a rigid assignment. I love when people say they exercise because they love their body, and they do it because they CAN instead of as a punishment or because they SHOULD or have to! That, as the kids say, is exercise goals in my mind!
So what’s a fun way to start small?
Consider throwing a stress-busting, smile-inducing dance party at home. This can be done solo—whether you live alone or not—or with family members. We have young kids, and a few times a week, we blast some kids dance party music and let loose, sometimes while dinner is cooking, and other times while killing time between dinner and bedtime. Everyone always end up in a better mood (and perhaps that goes for our neighbors walking by catching a glimpse).
When we think about heart health this month, physical activity and stress-reduction are risk factors you can modify, and dance parties are a fun way to tackle both. There is even some science to support it! A study from the University of Oxford shows that dancing together with others boosts our health and wellbeing. The endorphin kick from dancing in sync increases pain tolerance and boosts the sense of connectedness with those you’re dancing with. So get your family involved; have your kids or partner pick the music, try mimicking each other’s dance moves, and don’t take yourself too seriously! A few songs will go by more quickly than time spent watching the clock. Some laughs and calories burned are sure to ensue in the meantime.
Healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Have fun and cut a rug!
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– Keeley Mezzancello, MS, RD, LDN, CHWC
Health Advisor, Registered Dietitian | Email Keeley