Health&Wellness Magazine May 2016 - Page 28

28 & May 2016 | Read this issue and more at www.healthandwellnessmagazine.net | Like us @healthykentucky Dance for Alzheimer’s Activity has health benefits for both brain and body By Charles Sebastian, Staff Writer It’s no secret there are many benefits of dancing at any age. Keeping the body active is a crucial issue as the decades roll on and the body fades. Finding something you actually want to do makes exercise fun. People start dancing for many reasons: to reap the benefits of weight loss; for toning, balance, poise and socializing; to develop new muscle memory; and to enjoy the excitement of moving to music. But can dancing be a means of slowing Alzheimer’s disease? Involving plaques and tangles of neural fibers in the brain, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that first presents as short-term memory loss and mood swings. Other issues in behavior, language distortion and loss of purpose can also be involved. A great deal of research has been done in the past three decades to determine what might offset or cure Alzheimer’s. Research also explores the neuroplasticity of the brain – its ability to keep firing and remain flexible in thinking, memory and motor function performance. Dancing in general and partner dancing in particular headed the list of activities that enhance neuroplasticity, showing about 76 percent improvement across the board. According to the study, entitled “Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly,” the splitsecond, almost unconscious decision-making process used in partner Einstein College of Medicine in New York conducted the 21-year study. The article detailing the results appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine’s June 19, 2003 issue. Using this research A great deal of research has been done in the past three decades to determine what might offset or cure Alzheimer’s. dancing made it an effective tool. In the lead-and-follow dynamics of partner dancing, especially for the follow, unplanned, in-the-moment choices must be made so the partner can follow effectively. These fast, spontaneous decisions fire up the brain in ways other activities in the study – such as readin