Dementia is loss of brain function that affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. No one wants to lose their faculties, and few things are more horrific than seeing your loved ones go through this hell.
There are specific things you can do to decrease your risk factors for developing dementia:
- Control your weight;
- Control your blood pressure — not too high OR too low;
- Decrease your intake of sugar, gluten, and other inflammatory foods;
- Eat your fruits and veggies;
- Eat plenty of good fats;
- Supplement with resveratrol, astaxanthin, EPA/DHA and other high-quality brain protectors;
- Socialize with others;
- Keep your brain active, learning, and challenged;
These are all important to do habitually. But there is one specific activity that has been proven to not only help prevent the onset of dementia, but to also REVERSE dementia in a person who has already developed it.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that adults who danced frequently had a significantly decreased risk (76%) of developing dementia. This is amazing of and by itself. But the study also showed that DANCING WAS THE ONLY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY THAT REDUCED DEMENTIA compared with those who participated in other activities such as golf, tennis, swimming, bicycling, walking, and housework (some would say that last one actually causes dementia!).
Dancing has been shown in numerous studies to have other benefits too, such as improving balance, coordination, and physical conditioning, as well as increasing socialization.
Dancing uses complex areas of our brain, including the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. When we do activities that are novel and challenging, these areas of the brain can rewire and become stronger. This is the principal of NEUROPLASTICITY (see my blog post entitled, “Did You Know Your Brain Is Plastic?” Researchers think that the increase in neural synapses achieved during dancing are what reverse the signs of dementia.
So put on your dancing shoes, turn on some music, invite your friends, and dance the night away! You’ll remember those moments — and others — long into the future.