Dancing may boost your kids' mental health

High school musical

Regular dancing could help your kids, especially young girls, develop better mental health, as it suppresses stress, fatigue and headaches, a new study has found.

The study led by Anna Duberg, physical therapist at Orebro University Hospital found that regular dance training can be a good strategy for preventing and treating low spirits and depression.

Dance also brings enhanced self-esteem and a greater capacity to deal with everyday problems, according to Duberg.

The study involved 112 Swedish girls 13 to 19 years of age. On multiple occasions, these girls had gone to see the school nurse for symptoms such as anxiety and depression, fatigue, headaches, and back, neck, and shoulder pain.

In the study, 59 of the girls were randomised to a group that regularly danced together two days a week and 53 girls to a control group where the girls did not change their living habits.

The study results indicate that the girls in the dance group, despite all the challenges entailed by being a teenage girl, increased their self-esteem compared with the control group.

The positive effect persisted at follow-ups four and eight months after the dance training ended, researchers said.

Fully 91 per cent of the girls in the dance group felt that the dance study had been a positive experience. In the long run this may also lead to a more healthful lifestyle,

they said.

The study is published in the American journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (JAMA).

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