07/16/2013 05:22 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2013

Dance Like No One Is Watching

I thought I would honor National Dance Day (July 27) with a reminder that dancing is not only loads of fun, but extremely healthy for the body and the soul.

Did you know you can burn as many calories dancing as you can swimming, running or riding a bike? Depending on the dance and the intensity, you can burn 200 to 600 calories per hour. Dancing improves flexibility, strength, balance, endurance and coordination. It reduces stress, heart disease, blood pressure and weight. It's also one of the few exercises you can do that is both weight-bearing and aerobic.

Dance has been part of ceremonial and spiritual traditions since ancient times. There's something very primal about stomping your feet on the ground to the rhythm of the music. It connects you to the earth, to your spirit and to your dance partner(s). It can arouse feelings of gratitude, happiness, sexuality and intimacy.

While dance is often a social activity, I find my most spiritual dance experiences to be alone. I crank up the music I love ('60s and '70s funk) and then dance like crazy around my house. It allows me to move my body with no inhibitions, no rules and no one watching (except my crazy huskies who tend to get energized by it, too). It's a very freeing and fun workout. Just turn on the music and start moving to the beat! Try it some time by yourself or venture out and take a dance class. Belly dancing was fun for me!

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