As we age we slowly start to view our body negatively, we hate the strands of gray hair, the saggy skin and the wrinkles on our face, all the things that reveal our real age.
But it seems that now there’s a fun way to slow down the aging process and improve our relationship with ourselves, neuroscientists reveal.
- Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal published a study which reveals that physically active people can slow down the aging process in the brain and the neuroscientists who conducted the study say that dancing is the best activity for this purpose.
How can dancing be so effective when it comes to slowing down the brain’s aging process?
Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity, says Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany.
- In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.
This difference is attributed to the extra challenge of learning dancing routines.
The researchers invited 62 healthy elderly volunteers aged 63–80 years to join the study and eventually chose 52 who met their inclusion criteria. They were then randomly assigned to the experimental dance group and the control sport group.
The content of the dance classes induced a permanent learning situation with constantly changing choreographies, which participants had to memorize accurately.
The program for the sport group included endurance training, strength-endurance training, and flexibility training.
Afterwards, it was noted that both groups had an increase in the hippocampus area of the brain which is susceptible to decline. This area is also responsible for memory, balance and learning.
However, what only happened to the dance group is that they had an increased volume of other subparts in the left hippocampus. Thus, only the dancing was able to increase the volume of one part in the right hippocampus called the subiculum.
Therefore, it is obvious that dancing, especially if there is a change in coreography is much superior to repetitive physical activities like walking or cycling.
What they also did in the study is they provided the people in the dance group with different music genres. They also changed the dance routine every second week and they introduced new arm-patterns, formations, steps, rhythms and different speed levels.
Dance is the key to all happiness. When you lose yourself in the music and dance, you don’t care how weird you might look. Dance is therapeutic both in terms of our physiological and psychological well being.