As if we needed another reason to dance…
As you age, there are changes that begin to take place throughout the body, affecting you both physically and mentally. As the brain ages, many people suffer a noticeable decline in cognitive function, while others seem to somehow “stay young”.
Physical activity has been proven to play a part in “slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity”, according to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of a recent study [https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html] in Magdeburg, Germany at the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
The study was performed over 18 months and demonstrated two forms of physical activity, endurance training and dancing. Both forms of activity showed an increase in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that typically decreases with age. Dancing had the added benefit of also producing noticeable changes in balance.
The fitness group performed repetitive training exercises, like cycling and Nordic walking. The dance group was given new challenges every other week, learning new dances, steps and patterns. It’s believed the constantly changing learning process is what caused noticeable balance changes in the dance group.
It’s already known that dementia patients react strongly while listening to music. The hope remains that by combining the proven benefits of physical activity and music, such as what you experience when you dance, the effects of dementia can be diminished, or maybe even counteracted completely.
The hippocampus area is important because of the key role it plays in learning, memory and keeping your balance. The hippocampus is prone to age-related decline and also greatly affected by Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Rehfeld adds her advice following the outcome of the experiment: “I believe 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…I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”
See there? The doctor’s prescription to extend your life and diminish age-related brain decline…DANCE!
So many people say, “I’d like to learn how to ballroom dance, but I’ve got two left feet.” Or, “My partner just can’t dance…no rhythm at all!”
Those aren’t real reasons not to get started with ballroom dancing in Knoxville!
If you’ve ever had the slightest desire to dance at all…I want to strongly encourage you to pursue it! Would it surprise you to know that you already do almost all the ‘steps’ taught in ballroom dancing? If you can walk, you can absolutely learn to dance.
Ballroom dancing is, put simply, merely steps. Some forward steps, some back steps, some side steps. When combined in a series, with music as the background, suddenly you’re dancing.
You didn’t come into this world knowing how to walk, read a book or drive a car. These are all learned skills, and so is ballroom dancing. Granted, for some it may come easier, (it does help if you have an innate sense of rhythm), but every skill needed to become proficient on the dance floor can be acquired through instruction, coupled with practice.
No one is born knowing how to dance. Everyone you see on any dance floor, from the pros on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to the winners of the World Championship ballroom competitions, to the folks at your local studio….all of these were people with no former knowledge of dancing who became quite talented on the dance floor.
It takes proper instruction and yes, it does require practice. But what skill doesn’t? It takes practice to learn anything new. Knowing how to dance is something that once learned, will bring a lifetime of enjoyment.
Getting started with ballroom dancing in Knoxville couldn’t be easier. Click here to sign up for our Introductory Special for newcomers to our studio and book your first lesson today!
The Intro Package is good for one person or a couple, so you don’t need a partner. But if you have one, it’s a wonderful experience to share!
See you on the dance floor!
If you hate to exercise, you’ve gotta read this!
Put down that barbell and head to the ballroom.
Ditch the sneakers and put on your best pair of smooth-soled shoes.
Get off that elliptical trainer and get ready to do the salsa, a foxtrot or a waltz.
You’re going dancing.
Regardless of your sex, generation or fitness level, hitting the dance floor is a great way to get moving.
“It’s better than going to the gym or taking up a new sport because it’s easy, it’s simple and it’s fun,” says Dr. Rita Beckford, a family physician and creator of the fitness video Home With Dr. B. She is medical director of the urgent-care center at the Twinsburg (Ohio) Medical Center.
“Research over the past 10 to 15 years has found that exercise only works if it’s done consistently. So if people are happy and they enjoy what they’re doing, they tend to stick with it much longer than just picking up an activity for the benefit of exercise,” she says.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture considers dancing a moderate physical activity, like walking briskly, golfing (walking and carrying clubs) and bicycling faster than 10 mph. The recommendation for general health is at least 30 minutes of this type of activity a day.
Wanda Deagen, who has been teaching ballroom dance since 1984, says even the most basic elements of dance can contribute to physical fitness.
“In ballroom dancing, it’s all about form, so you’re holding your body and your core so that you have your abdominals tucked under and you’re dancing with a nice long back,” Deagen says. “All of the things that are good for your body posture-wise, stretching-wise, those are all the basics in dance.”
Ballroom dancing, like most dance, is usually a low-impact exercise and provides the same kind of benefits as low-impact aerobics, Beckford says. Other disciplines, including hip-hop with its jumps and turns, are high-impact.
“Regardless of the type of dance, you’ll get benefits like an increase in flexibility, strength training and fat burning,” says Beckford, who lost 80 pounds with a program that included an hour of cardio dance five days a week.
“The more intense and high impact, you’re probably going to build more muscles, you’ll burn more calories. But even with low impact dance, the benefits in your bones are still going to be there, the impact on reducing your blood pressure is there.”
Dance is good not only for the body, it’s good for the mind as well.
A study reported in the June 2003 New England Journal of Medicine found that elderly people who engaged in activities such as dancing lowered their risk for dementia.
About half the fitness clubs that are members of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association offer dance-based classes. One reason for the popularity of these classes is that dance doesn’t feel like work, says Elsa Williams, the group fitness coordinator at the Concord Athletic Club in San Antonio.
“With dancing, the perceived exertion is less than a boot-camp class where you might be working just as hard,” she explains. “It’s pleasurable, and the mood is completely different from a typical fitness class.”
There is also a social component to dancing that can be missing from other activities.
“You’re not only interacting with your partner, but you’re interacting with other dancers,” says Deagen. “Many people after a divorce or the death of a spouse will start dancing.”
And because it can be completely non-competitive, dance can be an enjoyable, healthy and creative outlet for children who aren’t interested in sports.
Wondering how to get started? Take advantage of our Introductory Package, which combines each service that makes up our 3 Step Teaching system.
Group Classes- Introduce the Dance
Private Lessons- Refine the Dance
Parties- Rehearse the Dance