Dancing and Our Neurological Pathways…

Processing speed, the measure of how our brains absorb and respond to information, seems to be especially hard hit as we age. The fraying of whitewestern dancing matter, the specialized cells of the brain that communicate messages between neurons, are greatly affected after age 40. A study conducted at the University of Illinois and published in “the Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience” showed a difference in brain scans of older, healthy yet sedentary adults before and after they had incorporated dancing into their lifestyle.  Participants were divided into three groups. One group was assigned brisk walking, another stretching and balance training and the final group  intricate choreography in country dancing. After six months, the three groups were retested and the group that was assigned to learn new dancing techniques had a remarkable increase in the density of the white matter. It seems that the choreography, which involved fluid lines and squares along with continually changing partners was responsible for the increase in processing speed. New activities that include movement and socializing seem to be the key in retaining mental acuity.