Currently, there are 5.4 million people in America with Alzheimer's. With one in eight seniors predicted to develop the disease, those numbers could explode as lifespans lengthen. Could ballroom dancing be the key to decreasing those numbers?
To date, there are no effective medicines that treat Alzheimer's; however, researchers spend a great deal of time pinpointing other non-medical therapies that can postpone, prevent, delay, or lessen the severity of symptoms. Typically, studies focus on cognitive stimulation and physical exercise.
Cognitive stimulation includes activities that engage the mind. Studies find that activities that require mental and intellectual stimulation, particularly in a group setting, seem to delay and decrease the Alzheimer's symptom of dementia.
In a 2003 study by the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of doctors revealed the extraordinary benefits of ballroom dancing. The researchers followed 469 people for 21 years, none of which had Alzheimer's at the onset of the study. The purpose of the study was to discover which leisure cognitive and physical activities delayed dementia.
The participants did a variety of cognitive activities such as reading, playing musical instruments, and crossword puzzles. They also were involved a host of physical hobbies like swimming, walking, housework, tennis, and golf.
The only cognitive activities that showed a correlation between delayed and lessened dementia symptoms were reading, playing musical instruments, and playing board games. Only one physical activity influenced the development of dementia--ballroom dancing! 30% of non-ballroom dancers developed dementia by the end of the 21 years, while only 19% of the ballroom dancers developed the disease.
Ballroom dancing combines many of the scientifically proven aspects that keep your mind and body engaged:
- Mental stimulation--Learning new dance steps keeps your mind active.
- Group setting--Working with others and socializing reduces Alzheimer's risks.
- Familiar music--Dancing to your favorite songs encourages mental connections!
- Physical Exercise--Moving and grooving increases health benefits beyond the cardiovascular.
If you want to learn more about the classes offered at Quick Quick Slow Dance Studio, contact us. It's never too late to start!