Dancing: good for the body, good for the mind While ballroom dancing offers physical benefits through cardio and muscle toning, its advantages go further. An activity for all ages and generations, social dancing’s benefits seem to increase with age, using both physical movement and cognitive stimulation to keep your mind sharp. Here are three reasons to consider ballroom dancing:
First, physical health. With age, joints become stiff from use, misuse, or injury, causing loss of mobility and flexibility. Women often have changes to their center of gravity and balance, as well as their muscle structure, following pregnancy and delivery.
Dancing, as a low-impact alternative, benefits those who have difficulty with typical gym workouts, or who have previous injuries which prevent using weights, allowing a return to strength and toning with a more gentle activity. Further, improving muscle strength and flexibility reduces future injuries and aids with posture and self-confidence.
Second, mental health. The social aspect of dance affects cognitive health, keeping key connections open to improve memory. Choreography enhances memory for detail by teaching skills in a controlled and repetitive setting, forming new neural connections.
Repetition is key for transferring short-term memory into long-term, and so dance lessons can keep your memory active and possibly prevent or reverse some age-related degeneration as happens with Alzheimer’s. This leads to an increased ability to concentrate and to shift attention successfully, retaining sharpness of mind.
Lastly, emotional health. Beyond toning muscles and reducing future injuries, a surprising finding from research showed seniors who regularly engage in dance activities report less physical pain. In addition, they report a higher level of satisfaction with their lives, a sense of well being, and a feeling of connection to their community.
Directly due to dancing regularly, their lives hold more interest to them, giving them something to look forward to, and they interact more energetically with the world and people around them.