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Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest » Dancing and Health » SAVE YOUR BRAIN - BALLROOM DANCE!


Archie Hazelwood of


by Archie Hazelwood of

The Einstein Aging Study, summarized in the June 19, 2003 New England Journal of Medicine, found that ballroom dancing helps prevent dementia. Dementia in the study refers to both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's.

The study included participants in six brain-stimulating hobbies - reading, writing for pleasure, doing puzzles, board games or playing cards, group discussions and playing music. The study also included participants in 11 physical activities including team sports, swimming, bicycling and dance. Dance was the only physical activity that benefited the brain. This was attributed to the cerebral rather than the physical aspect of dance.

Researchers found that the relationship between the mind- stimulating effects of ballroom dancing, as well as in the above six types of hobbies, and the lowered risk of dementia remained strong even after they allowed for variables such as age, sex and education. Frequency of activity also was important! Subjects with scores in the highest third on the cognitive- activity scale had a risk of dementia that was 63 percent lower than that among subjects in the lowest third. We believe this emphasizes the importance of engaging in a regular program of ballroom dancing.

The need to learn and remember numerous dance movements produces a constant and very beneficial challenge to the brain. The social aspects of ballroom dancing, the relaxation it produces and the joy of dancing also is involved. The sense of accomplishment and confidence acquired by successfully completing a dance with a partner are beneficial, as well.

Fitness, both mental and physical, often begins with one's state of mind. Mental acuity comes from mental exercise and if you're ballroom dancing, you're not sitting at home watching TV or feeling sorry for yourself. This applies to every one of all ages. Among mind-stimulating activities ballroom dancing is unique in that it also provides beneficial physical exercise.

Many people have gotten the message. That's why we see increasing numbers of people of all ages having the time of their lives on dance floors all over the country. They are receiving a double payoff, mental and physical.