We know that ballroom dance is great all-around exercise, for mind, body and spirit. But the news and research just keep getting better.
In this recent article, we learned a lot about the brain-boosting benefits of ballroom dance. For instance, did you know dancing is being used as therapy for development disabilities like Down’s syndrome, mood disorders like depression, even some neurological diagnoses like schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and dementia?
Wow. Body, brain and spirit galore!
The reasoning is that when you’re doing mind-numbing activities like running on a treadmill, you’re not engaging your neurological capacities. The brain literally disengages from the activity. You still feel a physical boost – but get no cognitive benefits.
Ballroom dancing, like playing a musical instrument, demands complex cognitive coordination. You have to do a lot of cross-body sensory and cognitive engagement in these activities. You can’t shut down any part of you!
Dance has an added benefit – the positive boost that comes with music. Music is certainly therapeutic, meditative, and nurturing. That’s in the background as we dance. A study cited in the article claims that dance offers “a pleasure double play” for the brain.
What’s more, the article posits that dancing stimulates the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that manages emotions and memory. You feel good in the moment – and you connect to past moments where you also felt good because you danced, like at a wedding.
We also plug the social aspect of ballroom dance. At our Fred Astaire Dance Studio, you are bound to meet new people, make friends, and connect with others in group dance lessons and at our dance parties. The social animals that we are need this contact with others.
More than that, though, your brain needs social connectivity. Did you know … your brain relaxes when you dance in a group? The communal connections activate neurons in the brain that tell you you are part of something bigger than just yourself. You feel secure, connected, and important.
All this from a dance.