Dancing Makes You Smarter.
By IDANCE | Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 09:57
Mathew Cutler & Izabela Dance
For centuries, dance manuals and other writings have lauded the health benefits of dancing, usually as physical exercise. More recently we've seen research on further health benefits of dancing, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, with its sense of well-being.
Then most recently we've heard of another benefit: Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter. A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one's mind can ward off Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit.
Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages.
The 21-year study of senior citizens, 75 and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their method
for objectively measuring mental acuity in aging was to monitor rates of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the
mind. There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.
*Reading -35% reduced risk of dementia
*Bicycling and swimming - 0%
*Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week - 47%
*Playing golf - 0%
*Dancing frequently -76%.
We immediately ask two questions:
•Why is dancing better than other activities for improving mental
•Does this mean all kinds of dancing, or is one kind of dancing
better than another?
That's where this particular study falls short. It doesn't answer these questions as a stand-alone study.
Fortunately, it isn't a stand-alone study. It's one of many studies, over decades, which have shown that we increase
our mental capacity by exercising our cognitive processes.
Intelligence: Use it or lose it.
And it's the other studies which fill in the gaps in this one. Looking at all of these studies together lets us understand the bigger picture.
Some of this is discussed here (the page you may have just came from) which looks at intelligence in dancing.
The essence of intelligence is making decisions.
And the concluding advice, when it comes to improving your mental acuity, is to involve yourself in activities which require split-second rapid-fire decision making, as opposed to rote memory (retracing the same well-worn paths),
or just working on your physical style.
One way to do that is to learn something new. Not just dancing, but anything new. Don't worry about the probability that you'll never use it in the future.
Take a class to challenge your mind. It will stimulate the connectivity of your brain by generating the need for new pathways.
Difficult and even frustrating classes are better for you, as they will create a greater need for new neural pathways.
Dancing integrates several brain functions at once, increasing your connectivity.
Dancing simultaneously involves kinesthetic, rational, musical and emotional processes.
Pleaase click here to check our dance classes program. We look forward to seeing you dancing with us very soon!
Contact us: www.izabeladance.com