People enjoyed the benefits of dancing for millennia, to perform rituals, celebrate, express, and deal with stress. No matter how good you are in it, dancing makes us all feel better.
Moreover, dancing brings us together and helps us share traditions and cultures.
Yet, dancing is an incredibly healthy physical activity as well, but besides that, studies are now revealing the mental benefits of it. Apparently, dancing is the best activity for protecting and strengthening your brain.
Researchers are constantly trying to find a way to fight and treat age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Scientists have found that dancing, due to the infectious music, coordinated movements, and required stamina, is probably the best option to protect the brain, and this is why:
- Constant Learning
During the study by Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, elderly people were given specific exercise routines for 18 months, some groups did endurance and flexibility training like Nordic walking or cycling, and one group took weekly dance lessons.
This group tried a different thing every week, like a new step or genre, and it experienced no difference, while the other participants had an increase in the hippocampus center of the brain, which is particularly vulnerable to age-related decline and diseases.
As Dr. Rehfeld explained:
“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.”
- Improved Memory
Dancing links the mental (learning new steps and their order) with the physical (executing the routine), and this significantly improves the memory and boosts the neuronal connections in the brain.
- Music Stimulates Brain Activity
Scientists and researchers are well aware of the effects of music on the brain, especially in the case of cognitive decline. Namely, the music triggers the reward centers of the brain, and when you start dancing, you activate the sensory and motor circuits.
Studies have shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease who practiced and learned dance experienced a slower progress of the disease, had improved balance and fell less, and experienced a slower rate of motor control decline.
- Coordination and Balance
Aging aggravates our ability to balance and coordinate, so we become dizzy, lose balance, and might experience a serious injury. Yet, dancing provides benefits for all of these areas:
- Dancing requires the use of numerous muscles of the legs, hips, feet, and the core, so it strengthens them and helps you control the body and maintain its balance.
- When it comes to dizziness, all the moves like spins, turns, quick side-to-side and up and down, train the brain and inner ear to deal with quick changes and sharp movements.
- Dancing requires coordination and muscle memory, so t nurtures and develops the brain-muscle connection and neurons.
- Dancing Makes You Happy
I bet it would be hard to find someone not smiling and laughing while dancing, either on a wedding, concert, in a club, or a dance class. Positivity and happiness offer countless benefits, and these are the effects of dancing:
- It’s physical activity. Dancing is extremely beneficial for the muscles, joints, lungs, and heart, and it will help you burn a ton of calories.
- It helps you to connect with others. The physical connection established during dancing is powerful, and extremely important, especially for the elderly. Isolation and lack of contact with others contribute to health issues, cognitive decline, and the onset of disease.
- It helps you deal with stress. Stress is one of the leading causes of numerous health issues, but dancing helps you shed it, and forget about the problems and responsibilities for a while.
Therefore even though you have two left feet, get out there and dance whenever you have the opportunity, as you will thus experience countless physical, mental, and emotional benefits!