One of the surprises of the 2003 “Leisure Study” revealed that dancing offered more protection against the risk of cognitive decline than the other physical activities that were evaluated. While the research did not specify a particular dance style, it did recognize that fully one third of the people in the study, danced socially. Therefore, since no dance style was singled out, we propose that social dancing (SD) be the focus in a follow-up study to determine if it can protect against the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Our first project is DanCE, which stands for Dance for Cognitive Enhancement. You will find more information about the research under the “DanCE Study” tab.
Social dancing is a dynamic, multi-directional activity. You twist, turn, spin, rise and fall, rotate, move diagonally, go back and forth and side to side. And the more you dance, the more you will realize that it requires coordination, agility, flexibility, strength, stamina and concentration.
Another plus, is you are getting great physical conditioning without the risk of injury that’s inherent in other sports. That’s because you are moving your muscles with mild impact on your joints.
In contrast, when adults are assigned to a testing platform for a dementia study, they have a tendency to get bored with cognitive stimulation like playing computer games and crossword puzzles. Also, these activities offer few cardiovascular benefits. With social dancing, they are learning skills that challenge them to improve their communication, intimacy and conflict resolution while at the same time you are creating a safe place to socially bond with other people.
Highlights of 2003 Leisure Study
A 21 year study to measure the rate at which adults that could be susceptible to Alzheimer’s was completed in 2003. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022252). The study’s objective was to determine if there were any leisure activities that influenced mental acuity in adults.
They studied activities like reading, writing, playing a musical instrument. They also studied physical activities like walking, house work, dancing, swimming and tennis. Surprising results of the study: By a wide margin, dancing offers more protection against the risk of cognitive decline than the 10 other physical activities that were evaluated.