One of the most entertaining ways to fight brain aging is to dance. In addition to being a great exercise for the body, the dance is also good for the mind. It’s an incredible and fun way to make our brains swivel.
This is without an age limit. In fact, for the elderly, dance is one of the best ways to maintain a balance between body and mind in optimal condition. In addition, physical activity in general, and especially dancing, can help reverse the signs of brain aging at this stage of life.
“There are shortcuts to happiness, and dance is one of them.”
Physical activity in the fight against brain aging
When we get old, many changes in the brain occur. This includes brain tissue reduction, reduced blood flow and reduced communication between brain cells. All these changes can have an effect on cognitive functioning, especially on learning and memory.
Many studies have shown that physical activity in adulthood can slow down cognitive impairment associated with time. In fact, a study published in the Neurology journal found a direct relationship between the regular exercise of moderate to high intensity and a slower decline in the ability to remember and think of people older than 50 years.
However, regular sports and moderate to high intensity is not something that persuades many people, let alone 50 years. Is not it? The good news is that dancing is an effective way to exercise. And at the same time to combat brain aging that does not involve going to the gym. Or putting shoes on running; dance, for example. This is confirmed by a new study published in the journal Borders in Human Neuroscience.
The effect of dancing
The above study refers to 52 healthy adults aged 63 to 80 years. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of two possible groups for 18 months. One group was asked to participate in the 90-minute dance class each week. While the second group participated in 90 minutes of strength and resistance training each week.
It should be emphasized that physical activity was very different in the structure between the two groups. So, as the dance group faced each week with new routine work, power activities and resistance training groups were repeated.
In the dance group, there were constant changes in dance choreographies. Every two weeks we changed the steps, positioning of the body, formation, speed, and rhythm. In order to keep the participants in the continuous learning process. In this way, the most demanding aspect of the participants was to remember the sequences under the pressure of time and without any indication of the teachers, as required by the researchers.
At the beginning of the study and at the end (after 18 months), each participant performed a magnetic resonance of the brain. In addition, the assessment of the respondents before and after the intervention was carried out by a test of the sensory organs.
The researchers found that both groups showed an increase in the volume of the hippocampus, but in dancers that growth was higher. Moreover, only the dancers showed an increase in neuronal connections in the conjunction of the hippocampus. The area of the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotions that. In addition, is most often affected by brain changes in relation to age.
Dance is a great exercise for the elderly
The researchers thought that the process of learning involved in dance could explain additional examples that are being watched. In fact, the team found this dance has also led to significant improvements in the balance of the participant. But in the strength and resiliency training group, he did not observe such progress.
The researchers explain that the 18-month-old group showed development in some parts of the hippocampus, while those changes were not observed in the second group. This suggests that other than physical fitness, other dance factors contribute to the change in the volume of the hippocampus.
For this, the researchers say that additional challenges involved in the dance program, namely cognitive and sensorimotor stimulation, have caused additional hippocampal changes in volume, other than those attributable to physical fitness.
Investigators reminding it of physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can most contribute to an independent and healthy life lasts as long as possible because it helps prevent risk factors and stop the decline with respect to age. Therefore, dance is a powerful tool that can impose new challenges on the body and mind, especially in the older age.