As we grow older, some of us begin to feel unattractive and they develop a somewhat negative relationship with their mirror. And it is understandable because it shows off our body’s saggy parts, our grey hairs, and all our lines and wrinkles that come with age.
Luckily, you can make the relationship you have with your mirror better, because neuroscientists have finally discovered an entertaining way of slowing down the aging process.
A study that was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal finds that people who stay physically active can slow down the aging processes in their brain. According to the neuroscientists behind the study, the most effective exercise for slowing down the aging process is dancing.
But, why is dancing the most effective physical activity for keeping your youth?
According to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, the lead author of the study, being physically active can slow down or even prevent the weakening of the brain’s physical and mental activities that come naturally as we grow old.
The study proved that there are 2 different kinds of physical activity – endurance training and dancing – which are both effective when it comes to increasing the brain’s area that naturally declines with age.
However, neuroscientists recommend dancing, as only dancing has proved to be effective in making noticeable changes in behavior because of the evident improvements in the balance of the participants in the study.
The study included 52 volunteers aged between 63 and 80. Then, the researchers divided them into 2 groups – the first group had to join dance classes, and the second group joined the sports team.
The participants in the sports group had flexibility, strength, and endurance training. The dance group, on the other hand, took dance lessons with constant changes in choreography. The participants in the dance group were also asked to memorize all the moves from the different choreographies.
The neuroscientists have discovered something amazing. Namely, the hippocampus area of the brain is the area which is the most vulnerable to decline with age has increased noticeably in both groups. Hippocampus is an area of the brain that is responsible for learning, memory, and balance.
What’s more interesting is that neuroscientists found that there was an increase in volume in the other subparts in the brain’s left hippocampus that occurred only in the dance group.
Moreover, dancing has also increased the volume of the subiculum (the right hippocampus) responsible for the working memory and its role in Alzheimer’s disease and human epilepsy.
In other words, dancing, especially when it is followed by choreography changes, is the most effective physical activity for slowing down the aging process. Far more superior than any other physical exercises such as cycling, running, or walking.
Furthermore, Dr. Rehfeld says that they played different music genres to the elders in the dance group and every second week they changed the dancing routine by introducing new formations, arm-patterns, rhythms, speed levels, and different steps.
And what about those with two left feet and absolutely no sense of rhythm?
Neuroscientists advise that you should try to not think about how funny and awkward you may look while you are dancing. Instead, lose yourself in the music. Let it take you to another level. Because music has many therapeutic benefits as well. It increases the happiness levels, reduces stress, and lifts our spirit.
“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 the age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age,” Dr. Rehfield explains.
So, ladies and gentlemen, dance away! 😊 And if you need an inspiration, watch the video below of one elderly couple.