Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Dance To Stay Fit During the Holidays

Thanksgiving Dinner.

dance wellbodyMounds of mashed potatoes + sugary cranberry sauce + glazed pecans + turkey + gravy-soaked stuffing = more than 3,000 calories (nearly double the suggested intake for an average woman for a whole day). And that’s not even including drinks, nibbling in the kitchen, dessert, tasty leftovers and all the holiday treats ahead.

During this season of caloric temptation, how about dancing to stay fit? Crank up your favorite high-energy tunes and revive your favorite dance moves--or learn new ones--to get your heartrate  up and spirits soaring.

Whether you choose hip-hop, disco, square dancing, ballroom, tango, jazz dancing or other fancy footwork, dancing is terrific exercise for your body and mind. While dancing, you can work multiple muscle groups, choose your own pace and intensity and vary movements and sequences to avoid repetitive stress injuries.

Dancing helps increase neural activity by integrating several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that dancing regularly decreases risk of dementia by 76 percent – on par with playing board games or a musical instrument and even more beneficial than doing crossword puzzles. 

You can dance by yourself impromptu in the living room, with a sweetie, with a crowd or with your kids and their cousins. 

Download the free Wellbody Educator's Handbook (grades 4 – 6 version, available in English and Spanish) and turn to page 28 for detailed dance instructions and links to how-to videos for the Twist, Swim and The Hitchhiker (with a hip-hop) spin, plus a step-by-step “Every Body Dance Now” activity guide that includes recommended dance CDS, a lesson plan and an observation worksheet for students to log breathing rate, heart rate and calories burned for different dance types.

Have fun and please share your favorite dances and dance tunes by commenting below or emailing professorwellbody@pacsci.org.

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Guest Saturday, 20 September 2014