My grandmother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 35, a disease that attacks the joints. Around the same time she took up partner dancing classes and was able to do so until she was nearly 70. Her doctors say that the decades of dancing are what gave her such longevity despite her disease.
So, how does dancing help us cognitively?
Firstly, not only can dance be a safe low impact on the joints, but a form of movement that is so fun that you may not even realize you are exercising. Dance is really a mind, body & soul connection. In layman’s terms, dancing keeps you young via all three coming together into blissful movement, reducing levels of stress while working out the cardiovascular system.
Dancing is also quite helpful to our memory. As new neural pathways are created, it boosts our neuroplasticity. Both cerebral hemispheres have an improved connection leading to improved memory.
Just as more neural connections are being made, this also means that risk for dementia also decreases, by 76%! There is something called Dance Movement Therapy in which the goal is to further cognitive health. It is even used for those who already suffer from dementia or Alzheimers to improve their quality of life.
These days it is even more difficult to focus than ever, but dancing can also help with that. Learning to dance challenges you and forces you to have better self-discipline and focus. This will carry over into other situations which require a strong focus and attention. These days more dance classes are being offered online. If in-person ones are not available at this time or you feel more comfortable in the environment of your home. Go ahead!
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“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Alan W. Watts
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