Do you swear that you're happier since a cardio dance class like Zumba has become part of your life? You're not dreaming — there's real science to back you up!
In one study from the University of Derby, depressed patients who were given nine weeks of salsa dancing lessons experienced a huge lift in their moods. Researchers explained that it was the combination of exercise, social interaction, and the concentration learning a new skill requires that significantly boosted the mood of all the study's participants. While it might not be traditional salsa, Zumba classes are all about fostering a strong sense community, require plenty of focus, and offer an awesome sweat session in the process.
Exercise has long been linked to an increase in the body's release of endorphins, and some preliminary research shows a correlation between regular exercise and the less well-known neuromodulator norepinephrine, which may help the brain deal with stress more efficiently. Any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat is going to have big benefits for your brain and body, but Zumba transforms any old, boring cardio routine into a big party!