Whether you’re at home, in classes or at a night club, there are a number of wonderful health benefits of dancing. Not only is it a fun way to exercise but it has a myriad of benefits for your entire body.

A recent study has also discovered that dancing can actually reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, proving you’re never too old to hit the dance floor! Published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the study revealed that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise, namely dancing, can reverse the signs of ageing in the brain.

The study was conducted to compare the effects of endurance training and dancing on the hippocampus region of elderly volunteers. The hippocampus is the region of the brain which controls memory, learning and balance. It’s also the area most likely to decline with age and be affected by diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The findings suggest that both forms of exercise had an anti-ageing effect but dancing displayed the most noticeable difference in participants behaviour. Participants in the dancing group were constantly learning new steps, arm patterns and formations. It’s thought that these progressive challenges are the main reason behind the effectiveness dance routines.

In light of the results Dr Rehfeld, lead author of the study, is now looking at new ways to utilise dance and music in treatment. His team are evaluating a new sensor based system that generates rhythms and melodies based on physical activity. They dubbed this system “jymmin” which is a mixture of jamming and gymnastics.

“I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age,” Dr Rehfeld said.

Other health benefits of dancing

The health benefits of dancing aren’t just for the elderly. Dancing is a great way for people of all ages, shapes and sizes to stay healthy and active. The mental and physical benefits including:

  • Improved heart and lung condition
  • Weight management
  • Improved mental functioning
  • Improved general psychological wellbeing
  • Increased muscle strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Improved coordination, agility and flexibility