Dancing Makes You Smarter: The mental acuity and benefits of dancing…
We often think of dance as a great physical activity for kids and adults, that improves our physical health, and is a great social benefit.
But how many of us are aware of the hundreds of articles written and studies conducted proving dance is not just a great recreational activity, but also:
“Most recently we’ve heard of another benefit: Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter. A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages.”https://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm
People are realizing more and more how dance is not just a seasonal activity for our kids, but an important tool and staple activity throughout the year for kids and adults alike to improve and maintain our mental acuity at all ages, as well as the physical, social, and stress reducing, and mood elevating benefits dance provides.
The New England Journal of Medicine report on the effects of recreational activities on mental acuity in aging. Reports that:
“The study wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity. They discovered that some activities had a significant beneficial effect. Other activities had none. They studied cognitive activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments. And they studied physical activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise and doing housework.”One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the mind. There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.”
A recent article from NPR clarifies the benefits of building a better brain through dance, music and poetry. Among the benefits are focus, memory, concentration, and creativity, as well as our brain’s ability to adapt in response to new experiences.
As someone who has been dancing my whole life, I have a front row seat to the endless mental, physical, psychological, and social benefits dance provides and how it plays such an important part in laying the foundation and improvements in school studies and life skills.
So, when choosing a physical activity as a staple part of your routine choose the one that gives the best results…Dance!