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Study Reveals Mental Health Benefits of Dance Against Aging [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 04, 2017 07:10 AM EDT

A person's physical and cognitive health declines as he or she grows older. However, a recent research exhibits the mental health benefits of dance that improves a person's overall wellness while aging.

Constantly moving is beneficial for the body no matter what age. Meanwhile, for older people, not being sedentary is like the oil that prevents rusting in metal that allows the elderly to still be able to function properly both physically and mentally. This was proven by the study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

The researchers from the University of Illinois in Urbana and another team of scientists conducted an experiment with groups of participants who focused on different activities. One group was supervised for walking, another for stretching and balance training, and the last was designated for dancing.

The volunteers of the lab tests had brain scans before and after the experiments. The findings showed remarkable results in just the span of six months.

Mental Health Benefits of Dance Improve Brain's White Matter Health

While there were signs of what scientists call "degeneration" in white matter, which is the brain's wiring, in most of the participants, the distribution remarkably varied among the group. Scientists found improvement in the group that engaged in dancing, as per the New York Times.

As people age, it can be observed that their processing speed has gone slower. For instance, they take in information a lot slower than they used to or have a harder time remembering details.

The brain's white matter is responsible for this. Thus, the study's findings revealed an essential data that opens up an avenue to discovering a way to counteract this mental health deterioration.

Moreover, according to the study, it appears the combination of physical, cognitive and social engagement is beneficial to maintain the health of the white matter. In fact, it is even observed to improve its wellness.

Therefore, simply exercising is beneficial but not enough. Even though the study is considered short-term, the mental health benefits of dance have proven that the cognitive exercise of remembering choreography and socializing helps in protecting the brain from aging.

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