“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity,” says Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study and based in Germany. Volunteers with an average age of 68 were assigned to 18 months of dance lessons or endurance and flexibility training. As expected, both groups showed an increased volume of the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, learning and balance. This area of the brain can be particularly vulnerable to age-related decline, even more so in the case of Alzheimer's disease. Even though it has been established that exercise can slow and reverse age-related neurological decline, whether or not certain types of exercise are better than others has still been unclear. Because of this, the endurance and flexibility group were given routines consisting of repetitive movements, such as cycling, and the dance group had something new each week.
|Source: Abro22 (CC:4.0)|
This is not the first time that dancing has been shown to exert anti-aging effects. Another study of 34 people with an average age of 80 aimed to test the effects of dancing on walking speed and pain in the knees and hips. Participants were assigned to either two 45-minutes dance lessons a week, or a control group. After 12 weeks, those who danced had less pain and were able to walk faster, which has significant implications for health and longevity. As the researchers stated, even walking just a little faster can help with crossing the road or walking to different rooms, keeping people independent and maintaining self-esteem. Longevity is for everyone, and does not need to be unpleasant or expensive.