tango-in-central-park

 

Get your booty on the floor tonight. Make your brain’s day.

Spoiler Alert: It turns out that dancing happens to be more than just good for you. It might as well be a wonder prescription. Dancing can be intoxicatingly fun. If the music, the energy and the sweat were not enough, we now know that there are a few more reasons to dance.

It is a therapeutic form of physical exercise that provides a cardio workout, muscle toning, and improved posture. Dancing has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety levels, improve social connectedness and build a sense of community among dancers. Just in case those reasons were not enough to persuade you to put on your dancing shoes, dancing is also beneficial to warding off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It also lends some explanation as to why Spider-Man maintained his stress and anxiety levels with his consistent dance moves.

For many, brain health is a luxury that is often taken for granted. The latest facts and figures on Alzheimer’s disease reveals that every 67 seconds someone will develop this common cause of dementia. A report published by the New England Journal of Medicine looked into the effects of some common recreational activities on mental acuity, or brain sharpness when referring to memory, focus, concentration and understanding. The report was based on a study performed by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City where researchers followed a group of senior citizens for 21 years to monitor their rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers considered a range of common activities including several cognitive and physical activities and the results of the study were insightful. Frequent freestyle dancing showed a whopping 76% reduction in the risk of developing dementia. Frequent reading came in at only half of that at 35%, whereas swimming, bicycling and playing golf came in at 0% reduction in risk.

What does this mean for you?

If you already attend class once a week, you are ahead of the game. Increase your frequency by taking advantage of the different instructors who teach your favorite style or challenge your brain by learning a new style. Apply what you are learning in the studio to the social dance floor. San Diego has social dancing opportunities that abound. Going on vacation or traveling for business? Check out the local dancing scene. Remember that frequency is key.

Perhaps Ellie Goulding says it best when she asks, “What are you waiting for?”

Further reading:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/12/dancing-sudoku-fish-and- fruit-the-keys-to-a-mentally-alert-old-age http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022252
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/for-agings-effects-more-solutions-than-proof-of-success/?_r=0

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Naomi Walski

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