We’ve been told time and time again how beneficial it is for your body to exercise regularly. It’s like your car – the better your maintenance routine is, the smoother your ride will be. One thing we don’t discuss as much is the benefit of exercise, especially from dancing, for your brain. Keeping your body in good condition is important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Cardio dance is good for your brain.
The ways the body benefits from dance fitness are well documented. Maintaining muscle tone for ease of motion, maintaining or reducing your weight for less stress on your bones and joints, and increasing blood flow for cardiovascular health are all important steps to take toward securing a better quality of life as you age. The mental health advantages of improving your mood and combating depression are also well known, but we rarely discuss how good this type of exercise is for the physical health of your brain.
Dancing slows the effects of aging.
Brain tissue and brain activity decrease as we age, which impacts our memory and learning ability. Physical activity helps to combat the effects of aging on the brain – especially dancing! Dancing has been shown to slow or even reverse the decrease in brain volume and memory formation better than a traditional strength training routine. It also results in increased balance, reducing your risk of injury completing everyday tasks.
In addition to reversing signs of aging in your brain, dancing reduces the risk of brain-related disease. A study from the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated several mental and physical activities on how they impacted the risk of Alzheimer’s and general dementia. While the usually recommended cognitive activities of reading and doing crossword puzzles did show some effect of dementia risk, dancing was the only physical activity shown to reduce risk – and with a larger impact than the cognitive activities!
Dancing came in at 76% dementia risk reduction, more than doubling the benefit of reading at 35%. By engaging multiple brain functions at once through music and movement, dancing maintains your brain’s elasticity and keeps your memory and learning ability from fading. A dance class that keeps you on your toes will keep your brain sharp.
Try a dance fitness class to get started.
When it comes to keeping your brain limber, it’s never too early to start. If you keep your brain engaged often and regularly through dance, you keep the effects of aging and dementia at bay. Try a dance fitness class like Zumba to keep both your body and your brain in good condition.