Strictly Come Dancing Finale: All the health and wellness benefits of learning to dance


Did watching celebrities waltz, quickstep and tango around the dance floor every Saturday night make you wonder how you would fare as a participant in Strictly Come Dancing?

If glitzy competition has made you want to dance, there are plenty of reasons to start shimmy – regardless of your age or ability.

In fact, former Strictly Ore Champion Oduba is supporting the Move Into Christmas campaign with care home provider Anchor (, aimed at getting older people dancing. The TV presenter said, “The problem with dancing is that it just makes you feel good and can really benefit your physical, mental and social well-being.”

There are plenty of opportunities to learn, with ClassPass ( revealing that dance sessions have entered the top 10 most popular activities booked through the site for the first time this year.

Before the Strictly final, professional dancers explain everything you need to know about dancing as a hobby…

How does dancing improve your health?

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There’s a reason the couples on Strictly run out of steam during their post-performance interviews.

“Dancing increases your aerobic power and strength,” says dancer and instructor Natalie Simmonds of VAHA (, the UK’s first interactive home fitness mirror. “It helps improve your balance, your posture, your flexibility. So if you’re older it can help prevent falls, and if you’re younger it can help reduce any pain or stiffness you might feel while doing other activities. “

Doing dance classes alongside other fitness activities can be beneficial, as it “tones your body up much more naturally than a lot of other activities because you are using muscles you didn’t even know existed,” explains Joëlle D’Fontaine, dancer and founder of At Your Beat studios (

What are the well-being benefits?

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“The joyful thing about dancing is that you’re not trying to see the physical gains, you’re just trying to have fun – and the gains are secondary. Because of this mindset, the urge to ‘slim down’ is suppressed – and it’s great for your mind, body and soul, ”says D’Fontaine.

Just like with other forms of exercise, dancing could have “a positive and profound impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, stuff like that”, suggests Simmonds, plus it can have an impact. on cognitive function. “It helps improve your memory because you will start to remember the steps and repeat them,” she adds. “It improves your general mood, even if you put on music at home. “

If you dance with others, you might reap the rewards and help fight loneliness. D’Fontaine says, “Finding a ‘dance family’ can be a game-changer and completely help uplift and diversify your social circle, with new friends helping you come out of your shell.”

Whether you are in a relationship or not, the social aspect can also increase your self-esteem. Simmonds adds, “You can see a different confidence in people who go dancing regularly. “

Any advice for beginners?

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“The best way to start is to listen to your favorite song at home and start moving your body over it, then start to incorporate it as much as possible into your lifestyle,” says Simmonds.

She suggests it’s a myth that people have “two left feet”: “Actually, these are things we learn. We can be taught rhythm, we can be taught coordination, how to walk to rhythm and all those things.

As for the ballroom, some dances are “more complex so you would need more lessons to really start to understand them”, but for beginners try the foxtrot, rumba and waltzes as they are “quite simple when broken.” down”.

D’Fontaine recommends trying a beginner-level cardio dance class. “That way there is no complex choreography, and you can just get used to your body moving with the music and with a followed aspect – then move on to other classes when you feel the fantasy,” he said.

And remember dancers are nice people: “When you are in that first dance class, look at the person next to you and just say,” Hello, this is my first class. ” They will support you, ”says D’Fontaine. Once you have mastered the basics, you can try “more difficult types of lessons, like heel lessons, afro beat lessons, or jazz lessons.”

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