The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - NEWS -

Keen to let loose on the dance floor? Go right ahead – es­pe­cially if you want to pro­tect your grey mat­ter. Al­though ex­er­cise has long been linked to the re­ver­sal of age-re­lated phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive de­cline, a Ger­man study re­cently found that danc­ing has the most pro­found ef­fect.

Af­ter ask­ing a group of vol­un­teers to take part in ei­ther weekly dance lessons or an en­durance and flex­i­bil­ity pro­gram, the re­searchers no­ticed that only the dancers ex­pe­ri­enced im­prove­ments in their bal­ance and be­hav­iour. All par­tic­i­pants ex­pe­ri­enced growth in their hip­pocam­pus (an area of the brain that’s af­fected by age­ing and Alzheimer’s dis­ease), but the men­tal chal­lenge of learn­ing and mem­o­ris­ing new moves pro­vided dance students with that ex­tra bit of pro­tec­tion. Need a lit­tle more con­vinc­ing before you sign up for a class? Here are some other ways danc­ing can im­prove your health…

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