Put on your dancing shoes and cha-cha-cha your problems away

With the return of Strictly Come Dancing to our screens Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire looks at the long lasting appeal of dance and how it can have physical and psychological benefits.

Dr Lovatt said: “There is a link between the body and the mind. We all know that when we dance it can make us feel great. But dancing also has other, amazing, effects on the way we think and feel.

“Dancing can help us solve problems and different styles of dancing can help us to solve different types of problems.

“Under certain conditions the cha-cha-cha can help us solve problems and puzzles faster and dancing freestyle on the funky disco floor can make us more creative.”

However, Dr Lovatt offers a word of warning to people who fancy themselves as the next Kara Tointon or Darren Gough:

“Dancing is like a drug. People often report that they are addicted to dance, that they have to dance, that they couldn’t live without dancing, and like any addiction an addiction to dance can lead to negative psychological consequences.

“Taken in moderation dance can make people healthier, happier, more creative and faster thinkers.”

Dr Lovatt will be speaking at the Children and Young People Faculty annual conference from 22 - 23 September in Leicester.

Dr Lovatt will also be speaking at Psychology4Students 2011: South which takes place in Watford on 1 December.