You probably know that dancing is a great form of exercise, but it’s not just good for your body. Studies show that dancing is excellent for your brain health and can help prevent the effects of aging, even reducing your risk of alzheimer’s and dementia.
But what is it about getting on the dance floor that’s so good at preventing aging? And is it better for brain health than traditional exercises like strength training and running? We think you’ll be surprised with the answers!
Why Dancing is Good for Your Brain
Part of what makes dancing so great for your brain is the fact that it works your sensorimotor skills and strengthens your mental coordination. Sensorimotor skills involve receiving sensory input and producing a response (your motor output). When it comes to dancing, music stimulates your brain’s reward centers, while dancing activates the sensory and motor circuits. Stimulating these centers and activating those circuits helps keep your brain young.
Another way dancing helps stave off signs of aging is by strengthening your memory. Dancing requires you to memorize movements and routines which has been shown to be even more mentally stimulating than traditionally-recommended brain stimulating activities like crossword puzzles and reading.
There are also social and emotional aspects to dancing that are excellent for your brain. Being in a dance class, like those offered at our Raleigh dance studio, or dancing with a few others reduces feelings of isolation and social stress, both of which have been shown to contribute to cognitive decline. And hearing a song from your past that brings up fun or pleasant memories can provide an emotional boost and motivate you, further helping reduce the effects of aging.
On a scientific level, brain-stimulating activity like dancing increases your neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to reorganize itself and change throughout your life. Keeping your brain flexible is key to keeping your mind sharp and lowering your risk of age-related diseases like alzheimer’s and dementia.
Is Dancing Better at Reducing Signs of Aging than Other Forms of Exercise?
While any physical activity is great for you, dancing might be better if you’re trying to reduce your risk of memory-related diseases. Memorizing steps and routines is a great way to work your brain and is something that other forms of exercise don’t provide.
In fact, during a 2003 study, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine compared the effects of 11 physical activities, including dance, golf, bicycling, swimming, and tennis, on the brain. While those are all healthy activities, dance is the only one that reduced participants’ risk of dementia.
Join us at Our Durham Dance Studio for a Brain and Body Workout!
At Fred Astaire of Durham, we have a variety of dance classes to work your body and mind. From salsa and merengue to the foxtrot and swing, we have something for everyone. Sign up for a dance class or a private lesson by calling us at 919-489-4313 or filling out the contact form below. And if you’re a first-time customer, check out our introductory offer!