At a certain point in our life, all of us develop a negative relationship with our mirror on the wall. It starts showing too many lines in our faces, too many grey hairs, and sagging stuff all over.
Several people end up refusing to look in the mirror for any reason whatever!
However, we don’t all have to resort to such extreme measures, because there’s something simple and enjoyable that you can do to slow down the aging clock.
When we grow older, there is a decline in our mental and physical fitness. That can get even worse for people who suffer from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. At the same time, there are always those around us who keep reminding us of the countless health benefits of remaining physically active.
According to a new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, older people who exercise regularly can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing as a form of exercise is the most effective.
Exercise can slow down or even counteract the age-related decline in mental and physical capacity, according to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, who is based at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg in Germany.
In this study, we see that two different forms of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) can both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes regarding improved balance.
The researchers invited sixty-two healthy elderly volunteers aged 63–80 years old to join the study and eventually chose fifty-two who met their inclusion criteria. Then, the participants were then randomly assigned either to the experimental dance group or the control sports group.
The dance classes induced a permanent learning situation with continually changing choreographies, which participants needed to memorize accurately.
The program for the sports group included endurance training, strength-endurance training as well as flexibility training.
Both groups demonstrated a rise in the hippocampus region of the brain, the area that’s especially prone to age-related decline. Also, it plays a crucial role in memory and learning, as well as keeping an individual’s balance. However, only participants in the dance group demonstrated volume increases in more subfields of the left hippocampus. Only dancing led to a rise in one subfield of the right hippocampus, the subiculum.
While scientists note that physical exercise can combat age-related brain decline, that study proves that dancing, specifically continuously changing dance routines as well as choreography, is superior to repetitive exercise such as cycling or walking.
Dr Rehfeld says: “We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, Square, Latin-American and Line Dance). Steps, arm-patterns, formations, speed, and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process. The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor”.
Rather than focusing on how awkward you may be looking, merely lose yourself in the music. The music alone has several therapeutic benefits. Just listening to music can lift our spirits. If you can manage to lift your backside too, even better!
Dr. Rehfeld also advises: “I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”
Have look at this inspiring video of Nellia (64) and Dietmar Ehrentraut (70). This couple from Germany are making some dance moves that will make you gasp for breath.
Reference: Idea Pod