Oct 10

Optimal Exercising for Optimal Health

This was written by pre-medical student Jorge Gonzalez with the intention of encouraging readers to take better care of oneself. The method of encouragement being used is Aristotle’s three pillars of rhetoric without the intention of withholding critical information or supplying false information. Instead, this method utilizes emotions to engage the audience, logic to make a claim, and credibility to support this claim. This was written in consideration of Liz Meszaros’s article, “Researcher’s Identify Exercise for Optimal Health of Body and Mind.”


Dancing has the potential to lower anxiety, improve physical health, benefit emotional, and be good for the brain. It’s the potent combination of music, movement, and socializing that, individually, has been shown to improve the mind and body. Plus, the vast variety of dancing has found an interest in a substantial amount of people. 


Mental health, as important as it is alone, has also been shown to improve physical health. Poor mental health has been correlated to a weakened immune system which can lead to fatigue, headaches, insomnia, pain, and high blood pressure. Dancing has been studied to show a variety of important chemical released in the brain. These chemicals include dopamine a reward hormone, oxytocin a connection hormone, serotonin a contentment and ease hormone, and endorphins related to pain relief and pleasure. 

In addition to the mental benefits of dancing, come a multitude of physical benefits. Dancing can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease potentially even more than walking. This may be due to the spurts of high-intensity activity. A study finds that those who were dancing 3 or more times a week experienced a 76% lowered risk for dementia. Another study showed those ages 60 and older dancing 2 or more times a week, improved their physical fitness, static balance, and handgrip strength. Furthermore, studies showed, after an 18-month dance intervention for those above 65 years of age, an increase of hippocampal volume which is important for memory. 


Aerobic exercise is very important to this practice. We commonly recommend this, among other lifestyle choices, to improve physical and mental health. It does not have to be something of high intensity, but walking daily for an hour has been recommended for those trying to reverse type 2 diabetes and those who are struggling with depression. Walking for an hour releases the hormone nitric oxide, which helps blood pressure and keeps the arterial wall flexible. Additionally, the hormone, when underproduced, may be directly tied to depression. So it is important, as part of one’s health, to maintain aerobic exercises as part of one’s lifestyle choices. Dancing can replace walking as part of aerobic exercise. Dr. Castellanos dances himself!


Work Cited:

Meszaros, Liz. “Researchers Identify Exercise for Optimal Health of Body and Mind.” MDLinx, 8 Aug. 2019, www.mdlinx.com/internal-medicine/article/4088.

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