It has been well known for centuries the health benefits of dancing and now there are recent studies to back this up scientifically, Certain types of dancing, such as square dancing, reduces stress, is great exercise, increases serotonin levels, and can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
This 21-year study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and included individuals 75 years and older. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and summarized by Richard Powers from Stanford University.
The study evaluated cognitive tasks including reading, writing, word puzzles, card playing, and playing musical instruments as well as physical activities including swimming, bicycling, walking, playing golf, and dancing.
As expected, the cognitive activities helped reduce the risk of various types dementia, but what was unexpected is that "the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing"(1) and of all activities, certain types of dancing, such as square dancing, provided the greatest risk reduction from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
In fact, square dancing is a form of dance that will increase cognitive sharpness at all ages.
Below is a summary of the risk reduction provided by the summary from this Stanford University article.
—Reading - 35% reduced risk of dementia
—Bicycling and swimming - 0%
—Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week - 47%
—Playing golf - 0%
—Dancing frequently - 76%. That was the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical.
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