How Dancing Can Heal the Aging Brain
Of all the things that are inevitable in life, aging is one of them. No matter how young you might feel, our brains age, and there’s not much we can do to stop it. Fortunately, the quality of life doesn’t have to go downhill with aging. There are things you can do to decrease the effects of aging on the brain.
One of them, as it turns out, is as simple as dancing.
How Dancing Impacts the Brain
Think you can dance your way to a healthier brain? You might be right, and science is here to back you up. With normal aging, approximately 40% of people aged 65 and older will experience some degree of memory loss. If a condition like Dementia or Alzheimer’s is present, memory loss becomes more pronounced.
Fortunately, recent studies have shown that regular exercise (and dancing, specifically) can help you maintain a healthy, youthful body and brain. Consider these findings:
- According to a study published in the journal “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,” dancing is more effective than other physical activities at reversing aging in the brain.
- The same study examined MRI brain scans and age-related brain degeneration. The study took place over 18 months and looked at the effects of dancing compared to other forms of exercise. It found that 68-year-old people (the study’s average age) saw dramatic improvements in brain structure after participating in weekly dance classes.
- Most of the benefits of dancing appear in the brain’s hippocampus area, which is known to be most impacted by age-related declines. This is excellent news for people who have Alzheimer’s and other age-related illnesses.
How to Dance Your Brain Back to Health
If you’ve suffered a stroke or a condition like Alzheimer’s, dancing is a great way to facilitate rehabilitation and restore the function of the brain. Here are a few ways to incorporate dancing as a healthcare method:
- Join a dance class. According to recent research, participating in choreographed dance routines can boost endurance, flexibility, and balance, while also triggering increased activity in the brain.
- Try a new style of dance. In the “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience” study, people who participated in Jazz and Latin-American dancing showed dramatic improvement in brain structure after weekly choreographed classes. With this in mind, try a new style of dance to keep things fresh.
- Start slow. For people who have had strokes or are suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, enrolling in a dance class might be biting off too much all at once. In situations like these, starting slow is ideal.
Dance Your Way to Healthy Living
Aging doesn’t have to be a downward spiral. Regardless of what your current state of health is, you can be empowered by doing certain activities and living healthy. These activities will slow down the negative aspects of aging and allow you to enjoy the positive. Dancing, specifically, is a great way to promote rehabilitation. Ranging from improved muscle movement and brain activity to better balance and more.