Written by Stephanie Piedrahita
It’s a given that including a decent amount of exercise and and a balanced diet in your life can have significant physical health benefits. However, new research shows that exercise also does wonders for your mental and neurological health and that dancing in the best way to go.
A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect.Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study who is based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases says “Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity. In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.” This means that classes that require you to memorize routines, have faster reaction times and attention to detail helps readjust your center of gravity and reduces the risk of memory impairment.
Dr Rehfeld explains, “We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, Square, Latin-American and Line Dance). Steps, arm-patterns, formations, speed and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process. The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor.”
Dancing can also significantly improve your mood! According to a 2014 study, positive changes in mood for recreational dancers. Participants had higher energy levels and were less tense compared with competition dancers, who had stress levels similar to those of other competitive athletes. This is because there’s less pressure to have perfect technique when you’re focusing on having a good time. This can also benefit your level of self-esteem level as dancing recreationally can help you understand how your body moves and open up social opportunities on the dance floor.
Not sure where to begin? Check out this stepping tutorial, that includes Miami styled moves, so you can shine on the dance floor or grab your friends and hit the town!
Information sourced from medicalxpress.com and CNN.com