Making up for 131 million hours of lost dance with the World’s Fittest Dance

Medibank is encouraging Australians to live better through a nationwide dance experiment.

Written by Editor Medibank

At Medibank we’re all for embracing new and unexpected ways to live and feel better.

As part of our Live Better program, Medibank has launched the World’s Fittest Dance, collaborating with Australia's leading contemporary dance company, Sydney Dance Company, and renowned sports scientist Dr Craig Duncan to create the new moves.

Specially choreographed with movements to maximise cardiovascular workout, the World’s Fittest Dance is a result of new national research, commissioned by Medibank, which revealed that Australians lost an estimated 131 million hours of dance* since March 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

What else did the research find?

It revealed over half (52%) of those surveyed reported dancing positively impacted their overall physical health, and when asked about improvement to their overall mental wellbeing, 56% agreed. Furthermore, the top feelings reported by those who danced included happiness (76%), positivity (60%) and health (40%).

The report also found the biggest fall in dance activities and movement was due to restrictions on parties and gatherings, dropping by 63%, concerts (58%), music festivals (54%), and dance clubs (51%). Interestingly, dance classes experienced the lowest drop of 1%, with those who practised in person pre COVID-19 making the switch to online.

Now let’s meet our dance partners

One of Australia’s leading Sports Scientist, Dr Craig Duncan, has worked with world-class athletes, such as the Socceroos and the NSW State of Origin team.

Dr Duncan said, “No matter which state or territory you live in, this year has challenged Australians. For some, it’s confronting to see how different your body may feel compared to this time last year, particularly if you’ve been working from home – and as a result travelling and moving less.

“Dancing is the perfect way to get moving, get active and have fun. It can also be an incredibly high-performance sport and demanding on the body.

As for devising the actual moves for this nationwide dance experiment, Dr Duncan says, “when we created the World’s Fittest Dance, we were able to measure the movement of the dancers with an accelerometer, as well as their cardiovascular response, step count and calorie expenditure.”

Sydney Dance Company’s Holly Doyle, who choreographed the World’s Fittest Dance, says, “I’ve been dancing for more than 15 years and understand firsthand how good dancing can be for physical and mental wellbeing. It releases endorphins to boost your mood, and can improve things like your balance, coordination and muscle strength.

Holly’s experience is backed up by the research findings. The study revealed that 35% of those surveyed who danced reported feeling a positive change after only 1-to-2 minutes of dancing, with 25% citing a positive change in 3-to-5 minutes, followed by 9% in 6-to-10 minutes, 7% in 11minutes or more.

Watch the premiere of the World’s Fittest Dance

Check out the video below to see the final dance and how it was created. To learn the moves, the Sydney Dance Company will be hosting a live step-by-step tutorial via Facebook and their Virtual Studio at 7 pm on Wednesday 16 December.

“I can’t wait to see how Aussies react to the dance – but more importantly, to hear how it makes them feel,” adds Dr Duncan.

This is general information. It is not health advice and it is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should consult a trusted health professional before determining whether this fitness activity is suitable for you.

*Research commissioned by Pure Profile on behalf of Medibank. Research was conducted in November 2020, among a sample of 1,001 Australians aged 18 years and up. Sample split is representative by state and gender – and data weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates. Calculated via number of Australians aged over 18 reported by the Australian Electoral Commission.

There are 19,976,208 adults in Australia, based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics 

Written by Editor Medibank

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