When watching ABC’s hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” you may realize there are people from all different types of ages doing really well! Dance has long been known as being an excellent way to stay physically fit, but many studies now show there could be mental and cognitive benefits to dancing as well. Researchers focused on the effect of ballroom dancing on the brain. It measured factors such as memory, sense of well-being, serotonin, and stress levels. The study showed that while exercise is good for your overall health, only one exercise had the biggest impact when it came to improving overall cognitive and retention skills and that was dancing!
Experts now are saying that dancing combines many beneficial factors as we age including recreational benefits and creative thinking. Dancing helps aide in stress reduction, increased serotonin level, and a positive mental attitude. Dancing includes several beneficial brain functions like rational thinking (keeping in step with your partner), music, and an emotional sense of well-being. When you are dancing, scientists say you are opening up new pathways and firing many neurons in the brain that improve mental capabilities. If you keep many brain pathways active then you keep a healthy happy brain.
The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and retain information. Novelty stimulation, like learning a new type of dance, is essential to exercising the brain. Dancing will not only challenge your brain, but will also activate pathways for more long term health. We are creatures of habit and there is nothing wrong with doing what we are good at doing. When you memorize new dance steps, you stimulate unconnected neural pathways which is important for good health as you age.