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Dancing into Health: Exploring the Physiological and Psychological Benefits for Children and Adolescents

By April 29, 2024No Comments

Drawing insights from a systematic review published in the June 2022 we uncover the physiological and psychological benefits that dance bestows upon our younger generation.

Dance isn’t just a form of artistic expression—it’s a dynamic exercise that engages the entire body, eliciting a cascade of physiological responses.

Motor skills improvement

In a randomised controlled study, a group participated in two dance classes weekly for a duration of seven months. The intervention consisted of a specialised modified educational dance program designed to engage participants in creative and playful movement exploration. Subjects were encouraged to explore new movement patterns and innovative ways of executing familiar movements. The study’s findings revealed significant enhancements in the motor development skills of students who received educational dance lessons compared to a control group. Although both groups showed positive outcomes, the dance intervention group exhibited greater improvement. Remarkably, the gains in motor skill development observed during the program were sustained even after its conclusion.

Dance can be practiced anywhere, anytime

Over 60% of adolescents spend over one hour per day on video games. Step in dance related computer games. In one study 36 hours of dance exergaming lasting 12 weeks, resulted in a decrease in adiposity and an increase in bone mineral density for the participants. When young individuals participate in exergaming together it may have benefits for self-efficacy related to physical activity due to group cohesion in a home-based environment. This is a particularly good option for those who are disengage from traditional sports.

Mental Well-being Through Movement:

Beyond the physical realm, dance also serves as a powerful catalyst for mental and emotional well-being. The systematic review revealed compelling evidence of the positive impact of dance movement therapy on various symptoms among children and adolescents. Notably, participants experienced improvements in symptoms such as somatisation, obsessive-compulsive disorder, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. Furthermore, the study highlighted the significant enhancement in parent-child relationships reported by participants.

Impact on fatigue

Adolescence is a critical period marked by various physical and mental changes, and young individuals aged between 15 and 24 years experience greater daytime fatigue compared to other age groups. This is particularly so among girls.  Despite common misconceptions that exercise may exacerbate fatigue, research consistently demonstrates its paradoxical effect of alleviating fatigue and enhancing energy levels. A study exploring an 8-month dance intervention, comprising 48 classes over 24 weeks, revealed significant reductions in daytime fatigue among participants.

Adolescents may ask how is this possible?

When you exercise, your body undergoes cellular-level transformations. Physical exertion triggers an increase in the production of mitochondria within your muscle cells. These mitochondria, often referred to as the cellular powerhouses, play a vital role in converting glucose from the food you consume and oxygen from the air you breathe into fuel. The abundance of mitochondria boosts your body’s energy reservoir, enhancing overall vitality and stamina.

By embracing dance as a holistic approach to health and well-being, we empower children and adolescents to thrive physically, mentally, and socially. Let’s inspire a generation to dance into a brighter, healthier future—one step at a time.



Tao D, Gao Y, Cole A, Baker JS, Gu Y, Supriya R, Tong TK, Hu Q, Awan-Scully R. The Physiological and Psychological Benefits of Dance and its Effects on Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. Front Physiol. 2022 Jun 13;13:925958. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2022.925958. PMID: 35770195; PMCID: PMC9234256.

Golen T, Ricciotti H Does exercise really boost energy levels? Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. 2021 Jul

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