Growing old has always been and will be a part of life that most of us dread. As time goes by, and our skin begins to wrinkle, some people start developing a negative relationship with themselves. They refuse to accept the reality that they’re well past their youth.
However, luckily for them, neuroscientists have finally found the secret to slowing down that aging process.
It seems that after all, we can be forever young.
Because, according to a study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal, people who are physically active can slow down the aging process in their brain. And apparently, dancing has the most profound effect on reversing the signs of aging.
But, why dancing?
The study revealed that physical exercise has an anti-aging effect on the hippocampus region of the brain – an area that controls memory, learning, and balance.
According to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, physical exercise has a powerful impact on both slowing down the aging process and preventing the decline in the mental and physical activity in the brain.
“In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. However, in comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”
The researchers selected 52 elderly volunteers with an average age of 68 and divided them into two groups. The first group was assigned an eighteen-month weekly course of learning dance routines, and the second group was assigned an endurance and flexibility training.
Both groups showed a significant increase in the hippocampus region of the brain.
However, even though the research has shown that physical activity can prevent an age-related brain decline, scientists had to discover which exercise was more effective.
To access that, the researches made significant changes in the exercise routines. The traditional fitness training program focused on more repetitive exercises, while the participants in the dance group took different dance lessons each week with a constant change in choreography which moves they were told to memorize.
“We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, Square, Latin-American and Line Dance). Steps, arm-patterns, formations, speed, and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process. The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor.” says Dr. Rehfeld.
The results were surprising. This time, only the volunteers in the dance group had an increased volume of other subparts in the left hippocampus.
In other words, dancing had increased the volume of one part in the right hippocampus called the subiculum.
The study proved that dancing, especially when it’s followed by a constant change in choreography is much more beneficial for our health than repetitive activities such as walking or cycling.
So, people. Put on your red shoes and let’s dance the blues!
There’s no such thing as no rhythm. All you have to do is let the music flow through your body and be present in that exact moment. Don’t think about how you look, don’t listen to what others say.
Music has many therapeutic benefits – let it heal you.
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