Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter
July 26, 2016
We at Fred Astaire Dance Studios love to share information about the benefits of dance – socializing, building confidence, learning a new pastime, getting in better shape – and so many more, including… guess what? Dancing makes you smarter!
In an article called Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter, Richard Powers, who leads Stanford University’s Dance Department, conducted some important research on this benefit of dance, which is especially applicable to older adults. We quote: “You may have heard about the New England Journal of Medicine report on the effects of recreational activities on mental acuity in aging. Here it is in a nutshell.”
The 21-year study of senior citizens 75 years and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their method for objectively measuring mental acuity in aging was to monitor rates of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The study wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity. They discovered that some activities had a significant beneficial effect. Other activities had none.
“They studied cognitive activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments. And they studied physical activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise and doing housework. One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the mind.
There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.
Reading – 35% reduced risk of dementia
Bicycling and swimming – 0%
Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week – 47%
Playing golf – 0%
Dancing frequently – 76%. That was the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical.”
Come in and take a private lesson or a group class. Join us for our parties when we dance, dance, dance (and smile, smile, smile)! Because it’s not only fun. It’s the smart thing to do.
For the finest in ballroom dance instruction, a bevy of benefits and more fun than you could ever imagine, contact us at Fred Astaire Dance Studios.