Dancing is fun, you get to know new people and it’s even healthy
DANCING IS A VERY EFFECTIVE WAY OF ADDING AEROBIC EXERCISE TO YOUR WEEKLY ROUTINE, HOWEVER ITS BENEFITS GO BEYOND THIS.
All the specialists confirm the importance of doing exercise to age in a more active and healthier way. Dancing can be a very effective way of including aerobic exercise into your weekly routine, and it is proven that dancing regularly improves your physical condition. It also helps to burn calories, works your muscles and the heart, increases energy levels, reduces the risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, and is therefore an appropriate exercise for any age and physical condition.
However, as well as improving physical condition, dancing on a regular basis also helps mental agility at all ages and helps to prevent Alzheimer and different types of dementia. This was proven by a team of researchers that analysed for an average of 5 years almost 500 elderly people over the age of 75 taking part in different activities which they carried out in their free time. At the beginning of the study, the participants did not show any signs of dementia. The objective was to check to see if different leisure activities influence mental agility, comparing the effect of different hobbies including both physical (playing tennis or golf, swimming, riding a bike, dancing, walking or doing house work) and cognitive (reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crosswords, playing cards or playing an instrument).
Almost none of the physical activities were proven to be a preventative factor against dementia, with one important exception: those people that danced frequently had 76% less risk of suffering from dementia, which was the biggest preventative factor of all of those analysed: for example, playing golf, riding a bike or swimming did not have any preventative effect, reading reduced the risk by 35% and doing crosswords 4 times a week reduced the risk by 47%.
And if you think about it, it makes sense. The majority of dance styles require the integrated activation of different brain functions at the same time. It requires you to control your movements, focus your attention, make hundreds of decisions in a matter of seconds, memorise sequences and steps, synchronise movements to music and activate the emotional circuits as well as promoting interaction with your dance partner or with the other dancers. All of this generates an increase in brain activity, determines the creation of new neuronal connections and reinforces the existing ones, building what the specialists call “cognitive reserve” which continues to increase whilst we get older. Another advantage of ageing well: more activity during more time makes us more intelligent.
From this study, another important suggestion can be concluded: you have to do it often. The more the better. Also, the earlier you start, the quicker you will notice the benefits