Dancing May Slow Cognitive Decline
Age-related degenerations in the brain structure are associated with balance disturbances and cognitive impairment. A recent study suggests that physical exercise in the form of dancing may have an anti-aging effect on the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory, learning, and balance.
Participants in the study included 26 people with an average age of 68. Over the course of 18 months, half of the group learned dance routines, while the other half did an endurance and flexibility exercise regiment. At the beginning and end of the study, balance was evaluated using the Sensory Organization Test and hippocampus volumes were measured using MRI scans.
At the conclusion of the study, both groups had volume increases in the hippocampus. However, only the dancing group had significant increases in the balance composite score. The researchers theorized this was due to the fact that they had to learn different dance routines.
Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases led the study. It was published on June 15, 2017, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Getting more exercise isn’t just great for your brain. Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health.