Reduce the Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s with Dance

Dancing is always a great way to have fun, tone your body and meet new people, but did you know that dancing may also fight the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? I heard about this topic a few weeks ago and thought it would be a good idea to talk to our ballroom dancing instructor, Lee Briggs, about it. Mr. Briggs informed me of a 21 year study done by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City on mental activity that included people who were 75 and older. After studying various activities, such as reading, writing for pleasure, crossword puzzles, cards, etc. and physical activities like tennis, golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise, they found that the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.

Risk was reduced by:

  • Reading 35%
  • Bicycling and swimming 0%
  • Crossword puzzles done 4 days a week 47%
  • Golf 0%
  • Dancing frequently 76%

Lee mentioned that dancing integrates the mind, the emotions and the physical which the study suggests work together to improve mental health. He said that the study seemed to show that “rapid-fire” decision making is what leads to this improvement. Dancing requires a lot of quick decision making, in both the leading and the following roles. The follower probably has the most benefit due to the fact that they must interpret the signals that the leader is sending them, thus requiring even more quick decision making.

It’s never too early or too late to start strengthening your mind. Lee’s classes at Continuing Education host a wide variety of ages, all there with some type of purpose whether it is for fun or a special event. If you are interested in signing up for Lee’s ballroom dance classes, visit www.ColumbusState.edu/CE or call 706.507.8070

-Kindra Hunter

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