Zumba. Hip Hop. Jazz. Modern Dance. You are currently registering for classes on your laptop and these are just some of the dance classes listed in the dance or fitness sections.

You’re still deciding whether or not to take a dance class. Your roommate took jazz and told you that dance improved her fitness and flexibility. You also remembered having a conversation with your friend who talked about building confidence after taking a beginner course.

I only started taking dance lessons last year and I really enjoyed it, so here’s my suggestion: find the class which fits your schedule best and try it out. Dance helps improve not just physical strength but also mental health and cognitive acuity. You might come up with reasons to back out, but there are plenty of reasons (besides burning calories) to stay and keep dancing.

It’s a no-stress zone

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What better way to de-stress than dancing (and maybe also singing) your heart out? This is the main reason I took a beginner’s jazz class last semester. With a hectic schedule packed with classes (not forgetting the most feared pre-med course – organic chemistry) and student activities, I found jazz to be a great way to let go of all the stress and just enjoy the music.

In fact, research shows that dance classes can make you happier and help you maintain healthy habits. If you are taking a beginner class for academic credit, don’t get stressed out about your instructor recording your attendance. As long as you come to class and dance your best, you’re already doing great. The attendance policy can serve as an incentive for you not to miss class, even in college.

You make friends

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Social media is great but real-life friendships are important too. One of my best friends was actually the one who recommended me to take a dance class. Besides, she also dances for her cultural club’s dance show and our group of friends attends the show to cheer for her – a great bonding session followed by group photos and a healthy supper.

Dance can be a platform to meet people who share similar interests. Take this opportunity to get to know people in your dance class and start exchanging stories. Plus, it’s not healthy to use your smart phones all the time just to avoid having real-life conversations.

You get to leave your comfort zone

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If you have never taken a dance class before, this is the perfect time to do so. If you have, do a different type or level of difficulty. As time goes by, you might realize how fun it is and wonder why you didn’t do it before. Even if dance is not your cup of tea, it is better to know now than to regret not trying at all.

Since I was young, I liked playing badminton and swimming but only for leisure. Competitive sports were fun, but not really my thing, and my experience in ballet ended in kindergarten. So when I first came to college, I wanted to take a PE course that I hadn’t tried before and jazz class was the perfect match. It was both challenging and exciting because I got to learn totally new things.

It’s an adventure of self-discovery

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Discover who you are through dance and learn more about what your body can do. Dance is a powerful way to feel your emotions and express yourself, especially if you’re doing improvisation. Someone once told me that at a certain level, we don’t just dance the dance but we eventually become the dance. This kind of empowerment is hugely important in college when everything feels like it’s in upheaval – inner strength can be one of the most useful tools you acquire throughout your four years.

It’s a chance to meet people who inspire you

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Trust me, your instructor is a great role model. Every instructor has a different personality but each of them shows passion, dedication and patience. Your instructor will encourage you to never give up and will often share a dose of wisdom. So what are you waiting for? Try at least one dance class (or join a dance club) during college, enjoy the experience and reap the mental (and physical) health benefits.