PHYSICAL 

The Brain Dance 


By Thomas Williams, BS Exercise Science

Dance has been a spark of joy in this world for centuries and will be for centuries to come. Weddings, reunions, concerts, dates, birthday parties, no matter what the event, dancing is always involved. And who doesn’t have a smile on their face when they are dancing?! 

The Science: 

  • Recent discoveries in the world of dance have been shown to enhance a person’s mood, energy level, functional awareness, and overall cognitive function. 
  • Couples dancing, such as ballroom, swing, and Latin dance, as well as fitness dance classes like Zumba have both proven to be extremely beneficial in an individual’s planning, coordination, and ability to carry out voluntary movements of the body. 
  • Dancing causes the release of our “happy hormone” termed serotonin, lower stress levels, and aid in enhancing the overall health of the brain. 
  • Dancing is one of the few physical activities that uses both sides of the brain at the same time. This makes it superior to other forms of exercise for creating new neural pathways to enhance memory retention, improvisation, and quick decision-making skills. 
  • Because of these incredible benefits, dancing has been proven to slow the onset and continued progression of all forms of Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease included. 
  • In addition to all the cognitive positives, dancing will also give you an elevation in heart rate to give you the physical activity aspect of wellness and improve overall balance and coordination. 

So all those fun, goofy moves you do in the kitchen with your partner, or while you’re cleaning the houseor if you want to find a place to dance…keep on dancing like nobody’s watching! I know I will! 

Sources: 

“Dementia Symptoms and Areas of the Brain.” Edited by Dr. Jon Simons, Alzheimer’s Society,Alzheimer’s Society, Sept. 2014, www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/how-dementia-progresses/symptoms-brain. 

Edwards, Scott. “Dancing and the Brain.” Harvard Department of Neurobiology, President and Fellows of Harvard College, neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvardmahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain. 

Obeso, J A, et al. “The Basal Ganglia in Parkinson’s Disease: Current Concepts and UnexplainedObservations.” NCBI Pub Med, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008,www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19127584. 

Siegfried, Juliette. “The Best Means of Avoiding Alzheimer’s Is Dance?” HealthGuidance,28AD, www.healthguidance.org/entry/16525/1/the-best-means-of-avoiding-alzheimersis-dance.html. 

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