There are plenty of reasons to dance, much more in the pro column than in the con column, if you stop to think about it. However, what usually holds people back is social anxiety or social stigma – the idea that men don’t dance, that it’s something only women do, that it’s “too girly” for men. There are a variety of different styles of dancing, from ballroom to disco to hip-hop to barn dancing. All over the world, dance is a part of a culture, celebration, ritual and tradition. Today, however, we use dancing less as a tradition and more as a recreational activity or a form of self-expression, sometimes in competition with other dancers. Overall, dancing can be an enjoyable way for people – including men – to meet people, stay fit and get active.
Dancing is perfect for getting fit, for men of all ages, shapes and sizes, and has a variety of benefits for both physical health and mental health.
Physical Health Benefits
Dancing for men is great for improving the condition of your heart and lungs, as well as increasing muscular strength, your endurance and your fine and gross motor fitness. Dancing is an aerobic activity, which has benefits of its own, namely including muscle tone and strength overall. Simply put, you can get very fit and muscular by dancing if you use it properly as exercise.
For men looking to lose weight, dancing is a great activity for weight management as it is both fun and easy to get into. It can also increase the strength of your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in older gentlemen while improving coordination at the same time. Agility can be improved, as well as flexibility, balance and overall spatial awareness – your awareness of yourself in space and your relativity to other objects. What this means is that instead of tripping over things, you’re more likely to avoid them as you’ll be more aware of them and your body movements.
One thing to remember is that it’s important that dance shoes for men are properly fitted and sized so that you’re reaping the benefits and not any pain. In addition, see your doctor if you have a medical condition, are over 40 years of age, or are overweight, to make sure that you are healthy enough to dance. Remember that even though dance is fun, it is still exercise, so it is important to remain properly hydrated. So, drink water before, during and after. Perform some stretches to warm up before, and make sure that you rest between dancing sessions. If you are starting out, don’t push yourself to keep up – just have fun! Cool down after a session with stretches or other gentle activities to avoid muscle strain and pain.
Mental Health Benefits
Besides the usual benefits to mental health that come with physical activity, dance has a few other advantages to your mental health. Physical confidence and confidence in your body image can improve as you dance, as well as overall mental functioning. You may find yourself overcoming some anxiety about social settings and other people, or about exercising in general. Dance has been shown to improve overall general and psychological wellbeing, giving you a feeling of wellness. You may also find that, when dancing, your self-confidence and self-esteem improve, as well as your social skills, especially if you dance with a partner.
Dancing can be done in the comfort of your own home, or in a studio with other organized dancers. No matter where you dance, it’s important that your men’s dance shoes are the right ones for your form of dancing, so you don’t end up hurting your feet later on. Zumba is a popular form of dance-exercising, which is done in a group situation and offered by a variety of exercise establishments. Most fitness groups will offer some form of dancing or another due to the popularity of dance as an exercise routine. Dancing with a group or a partner can improve your social skills, and for single men, can introduce you to women you may not otherwise have the chance to meet.
For married men, dancing is a great way to surprise your significant other. Instead of swaying around the kitchen, take your partner to a club and blow her away with your hip-hop moves, or get tickets to a gala and show off your ballroom dancing skills. Since dancing is usually done indoors, it can be done in any type of weather, meaning that even the outdoor dates don’t have to be canceled – simply move to the pavilion, or up your kitchen-dancing game. It’s also a great thing to do with your partner – signing up for a dance class together may improve communication between the two of you and allow you to meet friends outside of the partnership, leading to double dates later on.
There are plenty of different types of dancing that men can take part in. For the man who loves to dance solo or the man who loves to dance with someone else, there is bound to be some kind of dance style that fits every man’s needs. Some dance styles include the following:
- Ballet: Though we usually associate this style of dancing with ballerinas and women in tutus, the health benefits of ballet and the benefits to men are numerous. This style of dancing is perfect for men who want to improve their flexibility and strength.
- Ballroom Dancing: Popular with couples, this type of partner dancing teaches you a lot of different styles, such as the waltz, the swing, the rumba, the tango and the foxtrot.
- Tap Dancing: Do you remember “Singing in the Rain?” This type of dancing focuses on timing and beats and requires a special form of men’s dance shoes called tap shoes. The name comes from the tap that the shoes make because of small metal plates against the ground.
- Jazz: High in energy and perfect for the man who wants some serious exercise, jazz involves leaping, turning, and kicking all to the rhythm of the music.
- Salsa: Many mistake salsa dancing for ballroom dancing, but salsa is Latin American, Caribbean and African in origin. This is a sexy form of dancing that would definitely up the dating game and is usually done in partners, as it emphasizes rhythm and the sensual nature of close dancing.
- Hip–hop: An urban dance style done to hip-hop music, this is perfect for the man who wants to improve his moves at the club, as it includes breaking, locking, popping and free styling.
- Square–dancing: Folk dancing where four couples dance in a square pattern and change partners, this dancing is perfect for couples to make friends with other couples.
- Modern: Modern dance is based on ballet, but rejects a lot of the strict rules, focusing instead on wild, avant-garde kinds of expressions and creativity in performance and choreography.
- Folk Dance: The term “folk dance” is a little broad – it can contain a wide variety of styles, and are typically learned informally through tradition. Today they can be learned in classes, like Irish dancing, clogging, and even square-dancing counts as a folk dance. Consider the dances you learned as a child – the hokey pokey, for one, is a folk dance, as well as the lambada or even forms of line dancing.
- Country and Western: Line dancing, square dancing, even jazz, all to the sounds of country music. If you prefer cowboy boots and hats, this is the dancing for you.
When it comes to choosing a dance style, there are a few things to consider. Why do you want to dance? Is it to improve your fitness, your flexibility, your coordination or all three? Do you want to dance in a fast rhythm or a slow rhythm? How about partners? Do you prefer dancing by yourself or with other people? When it comes to dancing with a group, do you want private lessons or public lessons? And lastly, do you want to dance for fun or against other people in competition? What kind of dance shoes for men would you have to consider – ballet, tap, clogs, or some other type? When deciding on a style of dance, all of these things should be considered. There are hundreds of styles out there, not just the ones we’ve mentioned above so make sure you choose the one that fits your personal needs.
Even though dancing is typically done by women, there is plenty of room for men too – despite the social anxiety that may come with the activity of trying something new. Dancing is a fun and great way to exercise and stay physically fit while you have a blast doing something with other people or completely by yourself. When you’re choosing a type of dance, consider the gear that you’re going to need, and the type of men’s dance shoes that you’ll require (tap dancing and ballet require special shoes, for example). Make sure that you are healthy enough to dance before you sign up for a class and begin to exercise.