A new study shows that dancing may be the best activity for your brain’s processing speed as you age.  Healthy yet sedentary people in their 60’s and 70’s with no signs of cognitive impairment participated in the University of Illinois in Urbana study – they were divided into groups and assigned different forms of activity like walking, stretching and balance training and dance requiring choreography and a partner.  The study results showed that almost everyone performed better on thinking tests than at the start of the study with the dancing group showing the most improvement.  The study also showed that people who engage in activities involving moving and socializing helps an aging brain.

Walk, Stretch or Dance? Dancing May Be Best for the Brain

by Gretchen Reynolds

Could learning to dance the minuet or fandango help to protect our brains from aging?

A new study that compared the neurological effects of country dancing with those of walking and other activities suggests that there may be something unique about learning a social dance. The demands it places on the mind and body could make it unusually potent at slowing some of the changes inside our skulls that seem otherwise inevitable with aging.

Neuroscientists and those in middle age or beyond know that brains alter and slow as we grow older. Processing speed, which is a measure of how rapidly our brains can absorb, assess and respond to new information, seems to be particularly hard hit. Most people who are older than about 40 perform worse on tests of processing speed than those who are younger, with the effects accelerating as the decades pass. [Read entire article]