10 Ways Dance Can Benefit Carers

Lydia Crosland, a Connections Support Worker at Carers Leeds shares how dancing can bring many benefits to carers. And how to get started without any previous dancing experience! Try something new today - we might discover a new passion!

Every year I watch Strictly Come Dancing with a cup of tea and think, “I wish I could do that!” While we can’t all master the splits, we can all dance in a way that feels good to us.

Illustration of three people, dancing in rhythm.

Maybe we enjoyed going to a dance class before our caring role took up that time? Perhaps we have never danced before but always wondered how to do the waltz?

Dance is a great way for us to look after our physical and mental health – both of which tend to be often

neglected by those of us in caring roles.

Here's 10 reasons dance can be a great support in our caring role:

1. Reduce stress

We all know that being a carer can be stressful and trying to switch off can feel impossible. One way of quickly boosting our mood is popping on the radio and dancing round the kitchen. Go at it alone, or invite family or friends to boogie with us – FaceTime a friend and surprise them with our favourite song.

Take a trip down memory lane and discover long lost favourite tracks with BBC Music Memories. We can even create a playlist of the songs that get our toes tapping.

Illustration of a circle with two stems crossing over each other and the text 'togetherness' at the bottom.

2. Meet new people

Taking part in a group activity is a great way to meet some new people. Join a beginner’s dance class and everyone will be in the same boat and once we’re all confused over the same step, smiles and laughter can quickly turn into new friendships.

It’s miraculous how many people find time for a quick cuppa and slice of cake afterwards. If we find it nerve wracking

joining something new, we can call the teacher beforehand so we’ll know a familiar voice. Or take a friend!

We can find out if there are dance classes in our own local areas, often run by our local carers support service. For example, Carers Leeds has partnered with Yorkshire Dance to take part in their Dance On dance classes for carers over 50.

3. Hit our step count

If we track our steps, we will know some days it feels like we’ve barely moved, especially if our caring role means we can’t always get outside for a long walk. Dancing is a fun way towards reaching that goal of 10,000 steps per day. Whether a class in a studio, on Zoom or having a twirl with the kids, it all helps to reach our step goal.

4. Practice self-love

Of course, we all look great even with those extra lockdown pounds, it’s just part of life! But if we are feeling lethargic and want to show our body some love, dance is a great way to start feeling healthier.

5. Get talking

Illustration of two ladies facing each other with their arms out chatting.

Taking a dance class by ourselves might feel too much at the moment, but it can be a great conversation starter too. Check out some of the live streams and YouTube videos from world-famous dance companies like The Royal Ope