This One Exercise Is Said To Reverse Brain-Aging Better Than Any Other
A recent study has proposed that dancing is not only a fountain of euphoria, but also a fountain of youth.
In theory, I understand the concept of running as something one might do voluntarily. Advocates recite facts about how it’s good for your heart, reduces anxiety, and extends your lifespan by years.
At some point between getting your braces off and retirement, adulthood becomes a hallway paved with people telling you, “We should go for a run sometime!” Insert a “y tho” meme here.
I grew up dancing, and when it comes to getting “exercise” in order to stay “healthy,” the fact that someone would choose to rapidly put one foot in front of the other in the same exact pattern for an extended period of time, over shaking one’s extremities to a Rihanna song continues to baffle me.
Honestly, watch this and tell me it’s not more fun than aggressively jogging.
And now, in light of recent findings published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, even more points for Team "Running Is Whack": Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in your brain.
You read that right: Trying to emulate the choreo in “Single Ladies” is not only going to give you those endorphins (and make you laugh at how far off you are), but it’s practically the fountain of brain-youth.
While it’s been well-documented previously that physical exercise of many sorts has an anti-aging effect on the area of the brain that controls memory, learning, and balance—the new study comparing different forms of exercise found that dancing provided the most noticeable effect.
A group of elderly individuals, with an average age of 68, were assigned to either an 18-month course of dance routines or endurance and flexibility training, and while both groups benefitted from anti-aging effects, the dancers exhibited the most profound results.
Researchers attribute the difference to the additional task of learning choreography.
”We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (jazz, square, Latin American and line dance). Steps, arm patterns, formations, speed and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process.
"The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor,” said Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, in a statement.
It’s important research particularly in terms of finding methods to combat Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neurological diseases. While a study hasn’t yet been extended to research whether these benefits are shared by younger people, it’s comforting to know that the euphoria that comes from shaking your butt right now, will have added benefits down the line.
On that note, just going to leave this here for the ol' video archive. Your future 68-year-old self will thank you.
Words: Deena Drewis
Photos: Daria Kobayashi Ritch / GIPHY