04-Oct-2018 9:39 AM

New research suggests that you can party your way to good brain health and that pulling your best dance moves out could be the secret to defying time. Research shows that throughout your life the brain has the ability to adapt and regenerate – all it needs is the right environment – and dance could be just that.

Les Mills Head of Research Bryce Hastings says “getting your groove on is not just great for fitness, it’s great for your brain health too.”

“For most of us dancing is both physically and mentally challenging. It combines the processing, coordination and execution of unique movements and requires a lot of genuine concentration.”

Latest research backs this up, demonstrating how dance can increase the number of cells in the brain’s hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for long and short term memory as well as spatial navigation. It’s also the area of the brain that is most susceptible to decline as we age, so by actively increasing the number of cells in the hippocampus you can, in turn, potentially lower the risk of suffering Alzheimer’s or dementia in old age.

The study involved 52 exercising seniors. Over 18 months neuroscientists compared the effects of two different types of physical activity – dance and sports training – on hippocampal plasticity and balance. Half of the study participants participated in dance and half did a combination of strength, endurance and flexibility training. Both groups did two 90-minute sessions a week for six months, followed by just one 90-minute session a week for another 12 months.

The study found that after 18 months of regular exercise both groups saw an increase in the hippocampus, but it was the dancers who also benefited from improvements in the right part of the hippocampus, an area called the subiculum, that is responsible for balance.

The study also highlighted how mixing up the music genres and choreography is beneficial, providing proof that regular changes in dance routine can make dance superior to repetitive physical activities such as walking or cycling.

This is great news for dance lovers, and the perfect encouragement for anyone who isn’t a regular ‘groover’.

For more information, contact Emily Flint at Les Mills e: p:6215 8105


Topic: General News

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