Steven Bock from 5th Avenue Dance tells us everything he has discovered about just how good dancing is for your wellbeing.
We teach partnership. We teach men to lead so that he can ask any lady to dance, and absolutely know that he can. We teach ladies to follow so they can accept any invitation to dance and know that it will work. She will not have to take over or get trodden on. Once you know how to ballroom dance, you will be able to dance to any music that would be played at a ballroom, in a restaurant, on a cruise, in a club or at a party. That’s the fun part! But there’s other magnificent things to know about dancing. It’s incredibly good for your wellbeing.
DANCE THERAPY Dancing in your later years can have a wonderful effect on your body and wellbeing. A recent study concluded that one of the great ways to stave off cognitive decline was to learn ballroom dancing. It gets you out of the house, it gets you active, it is social, and it engages your brain. Says Professor Richard Powers of Stanford University, “For centuries, dance manuals and other writings have lauded the health benefits of dancing, usually as physical exercise. More recently we’ve seen research on further health benefits of dancing, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, with its sense of well‑being.”
In one study, out of 11 physical activities tested over a 21-year period, only dancing significantly helped. But more specifically, ballroom and Latin dancing. And even more specifically – SOCIAL ballroom and Latin dancing. The reason for why these two dances in particular are so good for your brain is because of the random nature of them. It is a lead and follow dance – there’s no set routine or sequence of step patterns. This means the brain has to make instant decisions. And that is what keeps your brain well oiled.
Another major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The 21-year study of senior citizens, 75 and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging. Their method for objectively measuring mental acuity in aging was to monitor rates of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The study wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity. They discovered that some activities had a significant beneficial effect. Other activities had none. They studied cognitive activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments. And they studied physical activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise and doing housework. One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, and exercise, as we all know, gives us health and longevity, but the focus of this study was the mind.
There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.
■ Bicycling, swimming, golf – 0%
■ Reading – 35% reduced risk of dementia
■ Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week – 47%
■ Dancing frequently – 76%. This was the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical.
BODY BENEFITS Dancing can:
■ Improve the condition of your hearts and lungs; due to the aerobic nature of some of the faster dances. At 5th Avenue Dance we structure your 45 minute lessons to warm up with a Foxtrot which moves around the room, then a slower Latin dance The Rumba, before we hit the faster tempos of Swing, a break with some wonderful Waltz, before moving onto a faster Cha Cha then cool down with a Tango.
■ Increase your muscular strength. When your dancing, you are moving! Our 5th Avenue Dance instructors are very aware of your starting level of fitness, and take this into account as we teach you to dance. Within a very short period of time you can increase what you can do!
■ Increase endurance. Dancing does not seem like exercise in the same way as going to the gym, riding a bike or training for a triathlon. But dancing and moving for 45 minutes a good workout. Plus there is music and fun (not to mention the skill you are learning).
■ Give you better social skills. At 5th Avenue Dance we are constantly recommending changing partners in group lessons. Even those who have their own partner go out of the way to dance with others. ■
BOOK YOUR FREE LESSON!
Don’t wait, come have a free lesson! Walk in – DANCE OUT!
07 5527 8018
7/115 Currumburra Rd, Ashmore
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Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast