Mind and Body Matters: Ballroom Dancing may Prevent Dementia

Houston Tribune
December © 2004

The New England Journal of Medicine, June 19,2003 suggests that ballroom dancing may prevent dementia. A group of men and women participated in six hobbies that were considered brain stimulating activities, such as writing, reading, discussions, playing games, crosswords and playing instruments. There were also eleven physical activities like ballroom dancing, and different sports; the 469 participants were studied for 21 years.

During the course of the study, 124 people developed dementia, 61 developed Alzheimer’s, 30 had strokes, and 25 mixed dementia, 8 had other types of dementia.

It was reported that those who took part in the brain stimulating activities had a reduced risk of developing dementia. The only physical activity that showed a reduced risk was ballroom dancing. In fact ballroom dancing scored the highest in both brain stimulating and physically ,stimulating group. It is thought that the old saying, “use it or lose it” applies to the brain stimulating activities. Ballroom dancing has so many brain stimulating elements such as remembering steps, reacting to the partner and hearing the beat that it is mentally challenging.

Because physical activity is important at any age, and brain stimulation may playa part in preventing dementia, ballroom dancing is proven to be a great exercise for both the body and mind.

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