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Why Dancing Is One of Your Best Dementia Prevention Strategies

Did you know that dancing is one of the best dementia prevention strategies available for you?

In the New England Journal of Medicine, a study done by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in 2003 reported that frequent dancing was found to have the highest rate of dementia prevention over many other types of strategies.

Senior citizens aged 75 or older were followed in the study for 21 years.

They did mental activities: reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments.

They also did physical activities: playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise and doing housework.

What were the results?

Reading - 35% reduction

Crossword puzzles - 47% reduction

Dancing - 76% reduction, the highest of all activities

This means that dancing can help you stave off one of humans' most-feared situations in life, that of losing our faculties. Many people enjoy dancing, so this is an activity that could help a lot of people. It is also quite simple to do, as well as fun!

Here are some quotes from the study:

"The essence of intelligence is making decisions. The best advice, when it comes to improving your mental acuity, is to involve yourself in activities which require split-second, rapid-fire decision making, as opposed to rote memory (retracing the same well-worn paths), or just working on your physical style."

"Dancing integrates several brain functions at once - kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional."

"The study made another important suggestion: do it often. Seniors who did crossword puzzles four days a week had a measurably lower risk of dementia than those who did the puzzles once a week. If you can't take classes or go out dancing four times a week, then dance as much as you can. More is better." 

Dementia is something that no one wants to get, but unfortunately it attacks millions of people. The World Health Organization estimates that about 50 million people worldwide have dementia. That is about 5 to 8 people per 100 people over the age of 60.

One in 7 Americans over the age of 70 has dementia. The numbers increase with age, from 5% of those aged 71 to 79, to 37.4% of those aged 90 and older.

Dancing is an easy form of exercise, so not only do you get the cognitive benefits of dementia prevention, but you get the cardiovascular benefits as well.

Dementia Prevention from Dancing Doesn't Have to Take Much Time

Again, another theme I try to promote on this website is that, if you can't do as much exercise, eating wisely, or, in this case, dancing, as you would like to do, do what you can. Every little bit helps.

Dancing to one song here and there throughout the day could help you. Do what you can.

Also, a lot of the time we don't have to be forced to dance. It is something we like to do when the music moves us. We hear one of our favourite songs and we  hit the floor and show some moves.

Dancing is also free. We don't have to get a membership anywhere to do it. If you want to get dancing lessons, then, yes, they will cost you.

However, classes have other benefits. You will learn something new, a different style of dance or new moves and you will also get the social aspect of meeting new people, which is another brain-booster.

If you're younger, start building your brain reserves earlier. Incorporate dancing into your day. It's good for your heart, good for your lungs, and now we know it's good for your brain.

If you're older, start dancing today. It's never to late to start something. Some people take up running or bodybuilding in their 70s.

If you haven't done much dancing for awhile, why not rekindle your love for life and hit the floor? Put on some of your favorite music and dance the night away! 

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