DANCING CAN REVERSE THE SIGNS OF AGING IN THE BRAIN
Just like music and yoga , dancing is a perfect practice for people who want to combine the pleasure of an art of movement while practicing an ideal physical activity to maintain their physical and social health. A previous study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York reported that dancing decreases the risk of developing senile dementia by 76%.
Physical exercise has an anti-aging effect on the region of the hippocampus of the brain – an area that controls memory, learning and balance.
A new study, which compares the different forms of exercises – dance and physical exercise endurance – shows that both can have an anti-aging effect on the brain. However, dance causes a noticeable difference in behavior, attributed to the additional challenge of learning a dance.
DANCE IS A CURE FOR COGNITIVE DECLINE
A comparison of two different physical exercises shows that both can have an anti-aging effect on the brain in the elderly, but only the dance gives rise to a measurable difference in behavior.
As we age, we experience a decline in physical and mental fitness, which can be aggravated by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease . A new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows that elderly people who routinely participate in physical activity can reverse the signs of aging in the brain and dance has a much deeper effect than other physical activities.
Discovering Inter-Brain Synchronization
“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even countering the decline in physical and mental capacity related to age,” said Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld , lead author of the study , based at the German Center for Diseases neurodegenerative diseases in Magdeburg (Germany). ” In this study, we show that two types of physical exercises (dance training and fitness) increase both the area of the brain that decreases with age. By comparison, it was only the dance that led to perceptible behavioral changes in improved balance. ”
The 68-year-old volunteers were recruited for the study and assigned either a weekly dance training of eighteen months, or training in fitness and endurance. Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampal region of the brain. This is important because this area may be subject to age-related cognitive decline and is affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. It also plays a key role in memory and learning, while maintaining its balance.
The Benefits of Dancing
While previous research has shown that physical exercise can fight age-related brain decline , it is unclear whether one type of exercise can be better than another. To evaluate this, the exercise routines offered to the volunteers of the study differed. The traditional physical training program has mainly exercised repetitive exercises, such as cycling or Nordic walking, but the dance group has been challenged with something new every week.
The researchers tried to provide our elders in the dance group with constantly evolving dance routines of different genres (jazz, Latin dances, …). Steps, contents, speed and rhythms were changed every two weeks to keep participants in a constant learning process. The most difficult aspect for the participants was to remember routines under the pressure of time and without any indication of the instructor.
These additional challenges are supposed to take into account the significant difference in the balance displayed by the participants in the dance group. Dr. Rehfeld and his colleagues are relying on this research for testing new fitness programs that has the potential to maximize the anti-aging effects on the brain.
The benefits of dancing against Alzheimer’s
At this time, researchers are evaluating a new system called ” Jymmin “. It is a sensor-based system that generates sounds (melodies, rhythm) based on physical activity. Patients with dementia react strongly when listening. The researchers want to combine promising aspects of physical activity and active music in a feasibility study with patients with dementia. The music therapy therefore also has a bright future.
Finally, Dr. Rehfeld concludes with tips that could get us out of our seats and dance to our favorite beat. ” I think everybody would want to live independently in their lives in a healthy way, as long as they can. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing the age-related decline. It is a powerful tool to meet new challenges for the body and mind, especially in old age.”
This study is part of a wider collection of research on the cognitive and neural effects of physical and cognitive activity throughout life. Other results are likely to come up with interesting information in the near future on methods to slow aging and cognitive decline.