Our Brains on Dancing (again!)

According to medicalpress.com, “As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness, which can be made worse by conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. 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.”

It’s not traditional participatory social dance that’s improving brain function (as in a previous BFS blog post), but the dance routines in this study included “chassee” (a.k.a. sashay) and “shifts of center of gravity” (balance and swing, anyone?). Seems like cultivating a lifelong dancing habit is a no-brainer… or rather, a yes-brainer.

In the words of Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, “I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.” For those who love scientific reading, the full journal article is here.

Thanks to Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission, for posting this research in the MeArtsEd blog.