Aging is a natural process we all go through, but it can be rather frustrating at times. I can remember the first time I saw a gray hair in the mirror. And that wrinkle between my eyebrows won’t go away anymore. We are all aware of the cosmetic procedures we can go through to “slow” aging down, but what if there was a natural, painless way?
Thankfully, there is. Neuroscientists just discovered a successful way that can slow down our aging process.
A recent study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal, it was found that people who undergo frequent physical activity are slowing down their aging too. At this point we would probably assume that going to the gym would be the best exercise — but it’s not the top one that slows down aging.
What they found in their research is that two types of activity, dancing and endurance training, both increase the brain’s activity in a specific region that declines with aging. But out of the two, dancing proved to be the main activity that slows down aging because of its noticeable improvements in balance.
The scientists gathered 52 elderly people from 60-80 years old and divided them in two groups for this study. The first group was signed up for dance classes and the second one was signed up to do sports activity.
The first group who went dancing had constant changes in choreography, and were asked to memorize the new moves. The second group did strength training, endurance training and stretching.
The hippocampus area in our brain is the most prone to a decline in activity and increase in aging. This area is in charge of memory, balance and learning.
Only the participants in group one that went dancing had increased left sub-parts of their hippocampus. Also, the right part was increased of the hippocampus, called the subiculum.
This study made an impacting finding that dancing, especially when followed with changes in choreography, is superior to any other repetitive physical activity. Dr. Rehfield also changed the music genres that they danced to, along with introducing new patterns, rhythms and steps that challenged the participants and made them activate their hippocampus area even more.
So, what about those that dance like they have two left feet?
The best advice is to focus on the music and let yourself go. Don’t think how others may perceive you, just do your own thing. Music alone has its many benefits — lifts us up and increases our happiness level.
“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 the age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age,” explains Dr. Rehfield.
Here’s a cute elderly couple dancing for inspiration <3 Please share if you enjoyed!