According to a recent study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal, dancing can prevent and reverse symptoms of aging in the brain. This study also discovered that dancing is more efficient than any other type of physical activity.
Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, the main author of the study, claimed that “Exercise is not only good for your body but it has some incredible beneficial effects on your brain because it can slow down or reverse the aging and the decline of its capacity. The study that we made proves that dancing and endurance training both improve the area of the brain that tends to decline with age. However, when we compared the results of both exercises, we saw that dancing is way more effective than endurance training.”
The average age of the participants of the study was 68 and they were split off into two different groups, the first group was tested for the effects of dancing and the second was tested for the effects of endurance training.
“Our aim was to keep our seniors in the dance group in a constant learning process. We changed the dance routines of several genres (Latin-American, Jazz, Square and Line Dance) every second week. The subjects were constantly learning new steps, rhythms, melodies and formations and then they were allowed to recall the routines on their own, without any help or clues – this was the most challenging thing for them and they loved it,” Rehfeld said.
“It’s well known fact that patients suffering from dementia strongly react when listening to music. Right now we are thinking of producing sounds (rhythm and melodies) based on physical activity and combine these two aspects in a feasibility study with dementia patients. In my opinion dancing is a powerful tool that can lift your spirits and set new challenges for your body and mind, particularly in older age,” Rehfeld added.
Another study which was conducted at Mc Gill University’s Psychology Department has discovered that music is in fact more powerful than drugs for numerous different conditions. According to the study, music triggers the release of pain relievers and natural chemicals in the brain that work in a better way than drugs do. This means that music actually has some healing effects.
“We’ve found undeniable evidence that some melodies can even help the patients in hospital quickly heal from any medical intervention. What is more, we even managed to identify the neurochemical mechanisms by which music affects four domains: immunity, stress, management of mood and social bonding,” Levitin said.