IdeA Knowledge contribution from Liverpool

Dance 2 Health and Well-being
Positive mental well-being protects physical health and improves health outcomes and recovery rates, notably for coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Poor mental well-being significantly increases the risk of poor physical health and is associated with poor self management of chronic illness and a range of health damaging behaviours, including smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, unwanted pregnancy and poor diet. Stress epidemiology demonstrates the link between feelings of despair, anger, frustration, hopelessness, low self-worth and higher cholesterol levels, blood pressure and susceptibility to infections (Brunner and Marmot 1999). For heart disease, psychological factors are on a par with smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and cholesterol problems.

Health and well-being
It is now time to give credence to the mounting evidence that
‘happiness/ life satisfaction’ might be as powerful a predictor, if not more powerful than some other lifestyle interventions such as smoking, diet and physical activity.The psycho-social factors related to these factors is significant.

Well-being can be expressed as a sense of Being, Belonging and Becoming

  • Being -Life satisfaction -Personal growth, Sense of worth /gratification,Self- acceptance, Positive outlook, Affection and Understanding
  • Becoming- Personal development & Justice
  • Belonging - Positive relations, Aspirations/ hope for the future, Connectedness to place and wider built and natural environment
Dance is good for everyone’s well-being for all ages and all cultures Dance generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting. Moving to music appeals to our most primal instincts: dance has been a part of culture for
as long has man has walked the planet. It stimulates the senses - sight, sound and touch - it's great fun and it's good for our bodies and minds.

Why is Dance is good for health and well-being

  • Good for everybody
  • Burns the calories
  • Good for bones and joints
  • Good for your mind
  • Builds Friendships
  • Lifts your mood
The promotion of positive well-being is at the heart of developing the Liverpool Local Area Agreement and the updated Liverpool City Health Plan.

Liverpool has been a designated World Health Organisation Healthy City and member of the European Network of Healthy Cities for the past two decades. Liverpool has made a significant contribution to development, thinking and delivery based on the ‘Healthy Cities’ approach.

Healthy Cities Approach

  • Tackling the determinants of health and reducing
  • the risk conditions to well-being
  • Taking action on our main health concerns
  • Supporting healthier lifestyles
  • Enhancing well-being
  • Targeting specific geographical areas, population
    groups and working through settings
  • Access and Opportunities for ALL
The WHO European Network of Healthy Cities promote and participate in a WHO Healthy Cities International Day of Dance held in May each year. This provides an opportunity to showcase different styles of dance and promote local dance organisations. The Creative Communities Team within the Liverpool 08 Capital of Culture Company now take a leading role in promoting dance and well-being more widely.

The Liverpool Local Area Agreement
Seeks to ‘Accelerate Delivery and Change Perceptions’
1. To reposition the City through an inclusive European Capital of Culture and its legacy.
2. To grow a Competitive and Sustainable Economy
3. Build Vibrant and Healthy Communities
4. Create Opportunities for All

Liverpool Healthy Cities has led the development of the Healthier Communities and Older People Block.

A key aim is to build an Arts and Health infrastructure that is supported and resourced through partner organisations to create innovative ways of delivering the LAA which will achieve better well-being outcomes for the people of Liverpool. Creating a strategic framework for the promotion of improved health and well-being is essential for long term sustainable commitment to the arts and culture including dance. Some examples of dance initiatives include an approach to healthy ageing which covers the life span. Whilst safeguarding the health of the older generation today it is necessary to lay the foundation for good health and well-being in the early years of life. Dance for older people as a key element of the Active City programme through the Active Ageing Network including both the physically active ‘come Alive at 55’ etc groups and less active individuals in residential care. There are numerous projects across the age range with children, young people and adults involving different cultural and dance styles. Of particular note is a programme with disaffected young men undertaken by Merseyside Dance Initiative and evaluated by Liverpool John Moores University demonstrating improved health and mental well-being outcomes as a result of participation in the dance project.

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Page last updated 17-Jan-2012 - Comments on the website welcome by Eric Foxley at the Dunkirk Arts Centre
Eric also manages web sites for
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