We know the positive effects dance can have on one's physical and mental health-it's good exercise, it improves mobility and social skills, it helps with muscle memory, but did you know that dance can also reduce the risk of dementia? It has also been found to improve "motor function, cognitive function, mental symptoms, and overall quality of life in people both with and without Parkinson's disease." Ruth Buczynski writes in her blog, 10 Ways Dance Strengthens the Brain.
Students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine performed a study over a period of twenty one years on subjects over the age of seventy five. They monitored the progress of dementia in those who performed recreational activity and those that didn't. Dancing alone greater reduced the risk of dementia compared to reading and solving crossword puzzles. (5 Things That Will Happen to Your Brain When You Dance. http://www.lifehack.org/374710/5-things-that-will-happen-to-your-brain-when-you-dance).
Dancing also increases your intelligence because it requires quick thinking and concentration. Jean Piaget defines intelligence as "what we use when we don't already know what to do" (http://www.lifehack.org/374710/5-things-that-will-happen-to-your-brain-when-you-dance). You always have to be aware of where other dancers are in the room and be aware of what you're doing so that the routine looks uniform. Not only does dancing help with muscle memory but it can also slow down aging and boost memory as well. As a dancer myself, I remember my family members asking me how I could learn seven to nine very different dance numbers and not miss a step. For me, as soon as the music comes on my body and my brain automatically know what to do. I have a pretty good memory to begin with and I like to think it's because of the years of dance that helped.
Another way dance positively affects our brain is it prevents dizziness and improves our balance. From a young age, girls are taught to "spot" which is the technique that helps us be not as dizzy when we perform turns. "Spotting" is where our head turns faster than the rest of our body as we focus on one point to look at. It takes practice but as you get older, the easier it becomes. As a child, my dance teacher had made big red stop signs that said "Spot Here!" so when we went across the floor practicing turns, we had somewhere to look.
Dancing has helped me so much as a person. It makes me so happy and it improves your attitude and your day to day function. If you haven't tried it yet, make time to join your local dance studio. Positions Dance Studio offers a free trial class any class, any time. Call to get yours today!