Dancing Our Way to Employee Wellness

03-08-2017
Rachel Yancius

You spend all day working.  Maybe you’re developing a new software program, maybe you’re compiling analytics for an important board meeting, maybe you’re filing ACA forms to keep your company in compliance.  You’ve got a stressful commute.  You work 9 to 5 (or probably longer) with dedication.  And at the end of your long work day, all you want to do is…dance?

Probably not the answer you were expecting, but dance is actually one of your best options for fitness and a great way to finish off your work days.  It’s a workout for both your body and your brain.  The physical benefits ranging from flexibility and balance to calorie-burning cardio aren’t enough for you?  Maybe you should take a look then at some of the studies that have been done on how dance improves brain health, or how it can help reduce stress and anxiety with all those endorphins that get released when you start to shimmy and shake.

Or just try it – I think you’ll find that it’s an incredibly fun means of self-expression.  I’ll count you in – 5, 6, 7, 8…

…Ok, maybe I’m biased.  I’ve been dancing my whole life – if you walk past my cubicle, you might catch my feet tap dancing under my desk.  And the marketing department will probably tell you how frequently I talk about my Zumba classes.  But if you don’t believe me, you should ask the coworkers that joined me last week for our quarterly “Viventium Under the Stars” event.

If you haven’t heard, “Under the Stars” events are our way of getting our employees to get together, get active, and get loud (kidding, but I can never pass up a JLo reference).  This time, we switched things up from a workout routine in Central Park to something a little more country: line dancing at the Colorado Café.

Surprised to hear that central New Jersey is host to a country bar that would make Nashville proud?  I was, too.  But what surprised me, even more, was how engaged and excited our employees were to line up for the Cowboy Boogie while George Strait played from the speakers.

There’s something about choreographed dance that truly brings people together; in fact, there’s a theory that it is the synchronized, social aspect of dance that delivers the real health benefits.  We had employees from marketing to client service to finance stepping and turning in unison – well, almost – and helping each other out.  Our line dancing lesson involved “four-wall” routines, which meant we would do a set of steps and then turn to repeat those steps facing each of the four walls of the dance floor.  As I turned each time, I could see my teammates watching each other’s feet move – the grins when they got the steps right, the laughs when they messed up.

The whole office was still buzzing about the event the next day.  A bunch of us are already planning to don our plaid shirts and cowboy hats again soon for another round of line dancing…and that’s really what a wellness program is all about, right?

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