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Dance Can Improve Mental Health of Teen Girls

New research suggests that young girls can dance their way to better mental health.

A new Swedish study discovered symptoms of depression, stress, fatigue, and headaches were alleviated with regular dancing.

Anna Duberg, a physical therapist and doctoral candidate at Örebro University, studied the benefit of dance training among a group that included 112 Swedish girls, 13 to 19 years of age.

She discovered regular dance practice helped to prevent and treat mood disorders and depression. Dance class was also found to foster enhanced self-esteem and a greater capacity to deal with everyday problems.

Duburg noted that the study group had gone to see the school nurse for symptoms such as anxiety and depression, fatigue, headaches, and back, neck, and shoulder pain.

In the study, 59 of the girls were randomized to a group that regularly danced together two days a week and 53 girls to a control group where the girls did not change their living habits.

Researchers discovered girls in the dance group demonstrated reduced psychosomatic complaints and reported increased self-esteem as compared with the control group. The positive effect persisted at follow-ups four and eight months after the dance training ended.

Researchers report that 91 percent of the girls in the dance group felt that the dance study had been a positive experience. Experts hope that in the long run this exposure to a beneficial physical activity may also lead to a more healthful lifestyle.

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