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    New research reveals Aussies have lost 131 million hours of dance due to COVID-19

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    ● New research reveals Australians have lost an estimated 131 million hours of dance since March 2020; compared to 324 million hours of dance time reported last year*
    ● Over half of those surveyed (equating to over 10 million Australians based on ABS data*) reported dancing positively impacted physical health, with 56% reporting improvement in mental wellbeing
    ● Of those surveyed who danced, 60% reported feeling a positive change within 5 minutes or less
    ● To make up for lost time, Medibank has created the World’s Fittest Dance as part of its Live Better program, in collaboration with Sydney Dance Company and Sports Scientist Dr Craig Duncan

    Medibank has announced the launch of the World’s Fittest Dance as part of its Live Better program, collaborating with Australia's leading contemporary dance company, Sydney Dance Company, and renowned Sports Scientist Dr Craig Duncan to create the new move.

    The physical experiment is the result of new national research, commissioned by Medibank, which revealed that throughout the COVID-19 national lockdowns Aussies lost more than an estimated 131 million hours of dance since March 2020.

    The specially curated dance aims to encourage Aussies live and feel better, with the movements maximising cardiovascular performance to increase heart rate, while still driving a choreographed sequence.

    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%). Respondents were asked when they were most likely to get up and dance – weddings took the lead with 24%, followed by family and friends’ birthdays (16%), dance clubs (11%), concerts (6%), music festivals (5%), and 13% citing all of the above.

    The report also went on to find the biggest fall in dance activities and movement since March 2020 versus last year which was led by parties and celebrations, 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.

    Australia’s leading Sports Scientist, Dr Craig Duncan, who has worked with world-class athletes including the Australian Men’s National Football Team (Socceroos) and NSW State of Origin team 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.

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

    Sydney Dance Company Choreographer Holly Doyle, who choreographed the World’s Fittest Dance, said: “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.

    “Throughout the process we worked through a variety of sequences, but this move in particular really challenged our bodies' endurance. It can build momentum for a great workout, so you could do this move for just one minute to start your day – or dedicate up to 10 minutes for a full body sweat.”

    The study also 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 11 minutes or more.

    The World’s Fittest Dance forms part of Medibank’s Live Better program. To see the final dance, and how it was created visit the Medibank YouTube channel. To learn the dance, the Sydney Dance Company will be hosting a live step-by-step tutorial to master the moves via Facebook and their Virtual Studio at 7pm on Wednesday 16 December.

    Medibank Live Better was created to support Australians on their journey towards a healthier, happier life, with tools to help Aussies eat, move, and feel better. For more information, please visit medibank.com.au/livebetter.

    About Sydney Dance Company
    Sydney Dance Company is Australia's leading contemporary dance company, a training ground for aspiring dancers and a provider of online and in-studio dance classes. As well as performances of new choreography in Sydney, Sydney Dance Company tours nationally and internationally every year and has a broad community beyond the practice and performance of the lead dancers.

    They believe in the universality of dance, and with the largest public dance class program in Australia, attract over 80,000 attendances a year. Through their in-person classes and Virtual Studio, people can connect with the grace, strength and creativity that lives within all of us.

    Their nationwide education program offers inspiring dance engagement opportunities through specialist workshops and schools performances targeting primary and secondary students. Career-focused study for pre-professional dancers, professional dancers and university graduates is provided via their Advanced Training programs.

    About Dr Craig Duncan
    Dr Craig Duncan is one of the world's leading Human Performance Scientists with a passion for maximising the potential of organisations, teams and individuals. His innovative and holistic approach to performance management has enabled high performance teams to maximise performance in a diverse range of environments.

    In the academic arena, Dr Craig Duncan has successfully developed and implemented postgraduate courses including the Master of High-Performance Sport (MHPS) and the Graduate Certificate in Performance Analysis (GCPA) at the Australian Catholic University. All of these achievements were formally recognised when Dr Craig Duncan was awarded Australian Sports Scientist of the year (ESSA – 2014).

    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.

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