Whether you’re country line dancing, waltzing, or learning a ballroom routine, dancing gives you a great workout! But turns out dancing is good for your mind too.
Just ask 59-year-old Jeanne Matinez and John Segreti. This married couple has enjoyed the perks of ballroom dance since 1978. Dance has kept their bodies in shape and their minds sharp.
“Physically, it can be very demanding and for your brain too,” Jeanne says. “It’s a lot to remember. I think now we learn steps a lot faster than we used to.”
Dr. Evan Lipkis of MD Special Care says he’s not surprised that dance is boosting Jeanne and John’s brain power.
“You have 90 billion brain cells and they have over 1000 trillion connections. Each neuron is connecting and networking with million and trillions of other neurons. Well when you dance you have to remember a lot of things.”
Learning the new movements and repeating the steps over and over creates different brain pathways. This is called plasticity and it helps with memory.
When you learn a dance routine, Lipkis says you’re creating “new memory” and increasing the number of connections in the brain.
“You have to remember where to put your feet,” he says. “You also have to remember that you want to please your partner. You’re dancing for your partner and for yourself, so there is an emotional tie as well as a cognitive one.”
Two left feet? Not to worry. Lipkis says there are other ways to keep your mind sharp. He suggests following a healthy diet packed with fruits, veggies, nuts, and lean protein. Don’t forget to add regular exercise to your routine, too. If you have significant memory loss, it’s best to pay a visit to your doctor as an MRI may be needed.