An Einstein Aging study summarized in the June 19, 2003 New England Journal Of Medicine inidcated that ballroom dancing helps prevent dementia. The study included participants in six brain-stimulating hobbies – reading, writing for pleasure, doing puzzles, board games or playing cards, group discussions and playing music. The study also included participants in 11 physical activities including team sports, swimming, bicycling and dance. Dance was the only physical activity that benefited the brain. This was attributed to the cerebral rather than the physical aspect of dance.
Researchers found that the relationship between the mind-stimulating effects of ballroom dancing, as well as in the above six types of hobbies, and the lowered risk of dementia remained strong even after they allowed for variables such as age, sex and education. Frequency of activity also was important! Avid dancers scored a 76% risk reduction for all forms of dementia. This was the highest score of all activities studied and we believe it emphasizes the importance of engaging in a regular program of ballroom dancing.
The need to learn and remember numerous dance movements produces a constant and very beneficial challenge to the brain. The social aspects of ballroom dancing, the relaxation it produces and the joy of dancing also is involved. The sense of accomplishment and confidence acquired by successfully completing a dance with a partner are beneficial, as well.
Among mind-stimulating activities ballroom dancing is unique in that it also provides beneficial physical exercise. This applies to every one of all ages.
Physical exercise is essential to maintenance of good health – especially your heart. Ballroom dancing is a great body conditioner. It will increase that mid-afternoon stamina needed on the job. It will develop that circulatory "second-heart," strengthen your legs, and will generally tone the body overall. Walking and body movement will be easier, more balanced, and more fluid, with greater flexibility on axis of movement.
The healthful exercise produced by dancing will help you reduce weight or avoid obesity and the two most common risk factors associated with obesity; high blood pressure and diabetes. Frequent ballroom dancing will build and maintain your physical stamina to a level equal to that of avid athletes.
In summary, the combination of dance, music and the exercise it produces will sharpen your brain, help you reduce weight and keep your heart healthy. Many people have gotten the message. That's why we see increasing numbers of people of all ages having the time of their lives on dance floors all over the country. They are receiving a double payoff, mental and physical. For more information on local dance options, visit our page on local ballroom dance studios.
Keep your brain alive and your heart healthy, Ballroom Dance Frequently!