Dance to get endorphins going and boost your mental health

Dancing is fun. We all know it has physical and social benefits, but it also has the power to improve our wellbeing.

The body releases endorphins during physical exercise, which interact with the receptors in your brain and act as analgesics to reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger positive feelings of wellbeing and even euphoria. It’s why you feel good after a workout.

Studies have shown that dance ranks far above other exercises in terms of giving us those happy feels. This is because dance goes hand in hand with music, which neuroscientists have deemed a “pleasure double play.”

Listening to music releases dopamine in the brain, a feel-good neurotransmitter which motivates us to take action towards goals and rewards us with a surge of pleasure when we achieve them.

This happiness prescription is found on any dance floor, in a class at your local dance studio or you can follow our specially choreographed steps guaranteed to up your mood.

Up grooves to up your moves

Follow the video and mirror your instructor Jess to perfect these iconic hip hop grooves and use these step by step instructions to guide you.

Step 1: Reebok

“An old school 90’s dance move that still rocks today.”

1. With both feet together, jump to the right. At the same time, bring your left hand into a fist by the side of your head and rock the arm down from the elbow as if you are banging on a door with your fist.

2. Repeat on the left.

3. Now do a double to the right. Continue with this single, single double pattern and you’re rocking the Reebok.

Step 2: Stanky Leg

“Do the stanky leg.”

1. Slide to the right stretching tall and leaving your left leg behind. Bring your left leg in as you bend, then stretch your left leg out again as you stretch tall and finish by bringing your left leg in again as you bend. Slide, in, out, in.

2. Repeat this on the other side by sliding to the left. Let your arms swing naturally as you focus on achieving the perfect stanky leg groove.

Step 3: Bart Simpson

“The names of many hip hop grooves often reflect the pop culture of the time, hence the name of this fun and funky groove.”

1. Slide to the right and twist your hips to face the right. At the same time, throw your arms away to the left in opposition to your hips.

2. Bring your feet together and throw your arms into a 90 degree angle.

3. Repeat on the left by sliding left and pushing your arms to the right.

Step 4: Biz Markie

“Named after the iconic rapper Biz Markie this is a must learn groove for any hip hop fans.”

1. With your legs hip width apart, jump to the right. At the same time, punch both arms out horizontally at a 180 degree angle.

2. With your hands in a fist, reach your left arm across the body to the top corner of the room.

3. Repeat on the left as you let your upper body rock naturally to the beat.

Jess Innes is the founder and director of Sydney dance studio, 100% DANCE.