Dementia Dance Therapy

Social Ballroom Dancing and Dementia / Alzheimer’s – Does it make a difference?

My interest was spiked when I saw a segment on Morning TV regarding a sleep study and the effect of poor sleep on proteins in the brain, interesting…

When the presenter asked “Other than sleeping well, what can you do to help in regard to Alzheimer’s?” The specialist in dementia related ailments said “Get out of your house. Be active. Be Social. Engage your brain. LEARN BALROOM DANCING.”

I thought at the time (correctly) this was because Ballroom Dancing encompassed all the things that help in one activity.

Since then, more research from me has me led to an astounding amount of research into dancing and dementia.

The outcome of which is the following.

Out of 11 Physical activities tested over a 21 year period, only dancing significantly helped….more, specifically Ballroom and Latin dancing……more, specifically SOCIAL Ballroom and Latin dancing.

The reason for which lay in the lead and follow aspect of Social dancing i.e. No set “routine” or sequence of step patterns, the brain had to make decisions instantly.

Printed in the THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT JOURNAL

BALLROOM DANCING AND ALZHEIMER’S – CAN DANCING MAKE YOU SMARTER?

AN INVESTIGATION ON ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIPPOCAMPAL VOLUME AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE IN OLDER ADULTS

For centuries it has been known that dancing is a very beneficial activity in regards of health. But the real break through happened in the year of 2012, after the results of two studies, held on the correlation between health and dancing, were published.

One of the studies was held at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. The results were published in the article in the New England Journal of Medicine. An excellent review of the study was written by professor of Stanford University Dance Vision – Richard Powers. The full text of the article You can find here. Meanwhile let’s take a brief look at the study – here are some excerpts from the review:

“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.”

Most recently we’ve heard of another benefit: Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter. A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages.

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, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 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, 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.

  • Reading – 35% reduced risk of dementia
  • Bicycling and swimming – 0%
  • Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week – 47%
  • Playing golf – 0
  • Dancing frequently – 76%. That was the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical.

See full article here: http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm

Also see the following videos from the key people talking about the research:

Wanting to try out for yourself? Social Ballroom Dancing, the earlier the better, don’t put if off.

We over a free private lesson, so you can try out.

Where is 5th Avenue Dance Located?

We are centrally located on the Gold Coast, Suite 7 115 Currumburra Road in Ashmore, where we teach all our lessons: Private, Group and Social Nights.

Don’t put it off, days turn into weeks that turn into months and years. You could be dancing today – give us a call on 07 5527 8018 or contact us via our Contact Us Page with any questions you may have.