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Dancing in the dark improves physical and mental health

Posted August 3, 2019

No Lights, No Lycra is a new way of organizing dance parties. This organization creates unique clubbing-ish experience with no booze, no prejudice and no lights. Yup – it is about people dancing in complete darkness. But what kind of benefit would that bring? Scientists from the University of Sydney conducted a research and found that it actually offers quite a few benefits.

Typical party environment is not for everyone – there is too much booze for children and prejudice for people with mental health issues. Image credit: Daniel Case via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The entire point of No Lights, No Lycra is dancing and having fun in an environment where everyone is equally welcome. On No Lights, No Lycra website, it says that participants from 12 to 100 years old are welcome, which means that teenagers can party with older people. Scientists surveyed 1190 participants across 52 No Lights, No Lycra locations and found that the majority of participants in No Lights, No Lycra were women in their mid to late 30s. More importantly, these women didn’t meet physical activity guidelines – they did not exercise enough on normal days.

So what’s the benefit of dancing in the dark? 95 % of the participants reported an improved physical health. This, by the way, is not due to the darkness. Dancing is a good exercise. In fact, with the right kind of music it can become quite vigorous. 97 % of participants reported an improved mental health and that’s where it becomes interesting.

Bridget Foley, lead author of the study, said: “Dance is particularly interesting as while we know participation is high in young girls, they often stop participating in dance and other physical activity as they get older due to cost, time commitment, focus on technique, mirrors, tight-fitting clothes and lack of enjoyment”.

This is what No Lights, No Lycra is particularly proud of – darkness makes everyone equal and less worried about technique, appearance, clothing and other superficial attributes. This is why it is so appealing to women who are probably not in the best shape due to not following guidelines of physical activity. 50 % of the participants of the study reported a medically diagnosed mental health condition. This presents them with a good opportunity to dance, have fun and exercise in an environment, which is safe and easy for them.

No Lights, No Lycra is quite popular. Since 2009 they had more than 500,000 people dance in their locations. It started in Australia, but now events are happening all over the world. However, you don’t really need an organization to launch a dark party – just flick the switch off and be safe.


Source: University of Sydney

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