Which Exercise Can Help You Keep Your Mind Strong?
Getting old can be a terrifying prospect for many who are young. The idea of losing our hearing, hair, and gaining wrinkles along with some weight can sound like an unappealing and unfair concept. This is understandable. Why should we have to lose our golden years? On top of losing our physical prowess, we as humans tend to have our mental capacities deteriorate as well in the twilight days. Most people in their seventies start to lose, on average, around 1% of their brain function every year. This number can be even higher for those who suffer from diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A fact like that can feel pretty bleak. But it doesn’t have to be. It has been proven that regular exercise can help the brain stay strong for your entire life, especially as you start to age. But there are so many different ways to exercise. Which one is the most effective at keeping our mind strong?
According to a study published by the journal, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, dancing is the most efficient way to keep your brain activity strong for your whole life. The study was headed by Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Magdeburg, Germany.
Benefits Of Dancing For Your Brain
The study was conducted by recruiting fifty-two elderly volunteers, all aged from sixty-three to eighty. They were randomly assigned to either a weekly eighteen-month course where they would learn how to dance or another group where they would go through basic workout routines.
While the ones who were in the physical training program were given a consistent regime on how to improve their flexibility, endurance and strength that stayed the same for the eighteen months, those who were in the dance group were given choreography to memorize that changed every other week.
Both of the groups involved in the experiment showed improvement and growth over the hippocampus region of the brain. This is important because the hippocampus is the center of the brain for learning and memory and it is the most susceptible part of the brain when it comes to aging. However, it was reported that only the participants that were in the dance group showed improved levels of balance. This is incredibly important because it proves that dancing with frequent changes in choreography is a far superior method of exercise for those who are aging, instead of normal exercise routines.
To capitalize off of the success of the study, Dr. Rehelf and staff want to continue their work by learning how the dancing practice can help those who are suffering from dementia. Dr. Rehelf is quoted to have said, “Right now, we are evaluating a new system called “Jymmin” (A combination of the words jamming and gymnastics). This is a sensor-based system which generates sounds (melodies, rhythm) based on physical activity. We know that dementia patients react strongly when listening to music. We want to combine the promising aspects of physical activity and active music making in a feasibility study with dementia patients.”
The end goal is to see how we can combat old age and mental deterioration. The process will be long, but it’s not too far-fetched to think that in the future we’ll be able to remain sharp-witted for our entire lives.