How I brought my house back to life

Dance doesn't have to be organized.

As my kids grew older it seemed as though all of our lives continued to get busier. One minute I was toting toddlers and the next I had a car full of teens. There seemed to be no time for me to spend at the gym, for myself and I felt as though I hardly ever saw my children outside of me playing taxi for them. With all of their sports (one soccer, the other basketball and another football) they were getting enough physical activity. I wasn’t, I didn’t have an idea.

One Saturday before everyone ran out the door, I yelled “spontaneous dance.” At first they looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I yelled it again and reinforced it with the rule that whenever I yell it, everyone in my house must stop what they are doing and dance until I say stop. I do this several times a week, even in front of company and no one is excluded – my mother who is a senior citizen even joins in. We dance a few minutes, multiple times a day. It makes us smile, the kids love it and it has been going on for years now. Sometimes at work I just start dancing and it relaxes me so I can work better.

Dancing is another form of physical activity which is critical for health at any age. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, all adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intense, or 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intense aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week. Older adults should be very careful and stay within their limitations. Before doing any physical activities you should consult a doctor. Download a copy of the Physical Activity Guidelines to determine your level. Michigan State University Extension recommends this PDF, as it has a load of information on safe physical activity for all ages and the amounts of physical activity suggested for youth and adults. I hope you dance!

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