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Dancing: great benefits for your physical and mental health

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Dancing: great benefits for your physical and mental health
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According to a study carried out by researchers from Madgebourg University in Germany, dancing can have pretty incredible benefits for our brain.  Notably in the hippocampus which is an indispensable part of our brain for our memory which often has a tendency to decline with old age. 

Dancing is good for our memory? 

Following a study, researchers remarked that after 18 months of dance lessons the volume of cerebral hippocampus in participants increased.

Every ten years, the volume of our cerebral hippocampus decreases by 2 – 3%,  decreasing by a further 1 % from the age of 70%.

The good news is that we now know that dance and physical exercise can help slow down this progressive decline in the volume of hippocampus.  This is the zone that constantly produces new neurons.

Physical activity stimulates the formation of new neurons and increases their survival.  What’s more, during physical activity our respiratory and cardiac system increases which improves the flow of blood to the brain and helping it to function.

With this study, the team of researchers lead by Notger Müller aimed to look at the effects of dance on our brain’s structure in comparison to the effects of other aerobic exercise.

The researchers divided the participants into two groups of 52 people.  The volunteers were in good health and aged between 63 and 80.  During 6 months these people went to two classes a week of 90 minutes of classical aerobic exercise (Endurance, stretching, etc) or dance, then one class a week for 12 months.  The dance class involved learning a number of choreographic moves and balancing positions.  The volume of hippocampus in participants was measured by magnetic resonance imaging before, during and after the study.

Dancing: Benefits for your brain and for your physical form

In the two groups, researchers noted an increase in the volume of hippocampus, especially on the left side of the brain.  However for the dancing group there was an increase in the volume in two other zones.  These included the dentate gyrus where new neurones are produced and the subiculum.  As a bonus, other tests showed that the dancing group achieved better results in the balancing tests. 

According the study’s authors, dancing is one of the best natural remedies for slowing down or preventing both the physical and mental decline that is related to old age.

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