As years are passing by, we do not notice the changes in our look on a daily basis, and at one point, we find the look in the mirror strange, much older, and unattractive.
Yet, the fine lines, sagging skin, and grey hairs do not require any drastic measures, as we can slow down the biological clock completely naturally.
Despite the physical changes, aging affects our mental health as well.
However, a recent study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that regular physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and the most effective method is- dancing!
According to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany:
“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity.
In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”
This was a result of the additional challenge of learning dancing routines.
The study involved 52 healthy elderly volunteers aged 63–80 years, who were randomly assigned to the experimental dance group and the control sports group.
Dance classes induced a permanent learning situation by constantly changing choreographies, and learners needed to memorize them accurately. The other group was involved in endurance training, strength-endurance training, and flexibility training.
Researchers found an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, which is the brain part specifically prone to age-related decline, in all participants.
Yet, only the ones in the first group had volume increases in more subfields of the left hippocampus and they had an increased subfield of the right hippocampus, called the subiculum.
This study, therefore, showed that dancing, specifically continuously changing dance routines and choreography, is much more effective than repetitive exercises such as cycling or walking, in terms of slowing down aging and preventing its negative effects.
As explained by Dr. Rehfeld:
“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.”
Even if you do not have a talent for dancing, just focus on the music, and enjoy its therapeutic benefits.
Dr. Rehfeld adds:
“I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline.
I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”
Read The Full Original Article Here: Neuroscientists Reveal The Number One Exercise For Slowing Down The Aging Process