Dancing is a universal human experience. We dance to express joy, celebrate life events and to enact religious and cultural rituals. Dance also has physical and cognitive benefits that may exceed those of other forms of exercise.

The evidence for the health benefits of exercise is indisputable. Physiologic studies have demonstrated that regular activity builds muscle and bone, reduces fat, increases aerobic capacity, lowers blood pressure and improves the ratio of “good” to “bad” cholesterol. Dance has been shown to have all the benefits of other forms of exercise.

Moreover, by incorporating music, dance may have benefits beyond those of exercise alone. Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits. Dancing has improved balance, gait and the quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders. And several — but not all — studies have indicated that mastering dance movements and patterns yields greater improvements in memory and problem-solving than walking does.

You can get it all in one package – learn how to square dance. Square dancing is low-impact, but great aerobic exercise. The Mayo Clinic encourages square dancing because it burns a lot of calories, strengthens bones and helps the cardiovascular system. It is estimated that at a typical dance you can expect to clock 9,000 to 10,000 steps or about three to five miles per evening, providing the right amount of movement for many people. Positive impact—square dancing can lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol profile.

Square dancing is so much fun that you will be smiling within minutes, laughing and wanting to keep on dancing. It’s great physical exercise, involving almost constant movement without being overly tiring, as you step in time with the music forming moving patterns with the other dancers in your square.

Sixteen dancers from the SaddleBrooke Squares Dance Club traveled to Sierra Vista, Arizona for the nineth annual Hummingbird Hoedown Square Dance Festival held on Friday, January 12 and Saturday, January 13. The caller, Tony Oxendine, hails from North Carolina and is one of the most popular and sought after callers in the world. Tony started calling in 1974, and, in 1980, made calling his full-time career and travels almost 300 days annually doing festivals and dances all over the world.

Throughout the evening, Tony rocked the place with high energy music and choreography. He wowed everybody with his beautiful voice and knowledge of music. We danced, we laughed and we enjoyed a memorable weekend of dancing… it was a blast!

Check out our website to find out how you can join this wonderful activity.

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.