Nov 30 2012
Dance Steps for Your Brain
Aging gracefully is like a well performed dance; it requires repetition and challenge— both mentally and physically. Loss of motor skills and memory can be avoided with exercise and mental stimulation, the keys to a youthful body and mind.
A flexible body and fluid mind are hallmarks of youth, and Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett says that besides being fun, dance is a mind-body experience that requires focus, coordination, and learning new moves. All of these skills can slow down the aging process.
The Fountain of Youth
The secret to being youthful is physical activity and learning new things." There isn't much difference between a 25-year-old brain and a 75-year-old brain," says Dr. Monte S. Buchsbaum, director of the Neuroscience PET Laboratory at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Your Brain on Dance
Neural pathways are vast networks in our brains that respond to new circumstances and learning throughout our lives. And like our muscles, we have to use them or we’ll lose them. Learning new dance steps develops agility, and requires complex hand-brain coordination that shore up those networks and bolster your memory.
Your Body on Dance
Physical exercise, such as dancing, has a protective effect on the brain. Based on health and exercise data from nearly 5,000 men and women over 65 years of age, those who exercised were less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's.
Research has found physical connections between the brain and muscles. These junctions are where neurons connect with other neurons in the brain, as well as skeletal muscles. At these junctions, the brain uses chemical neurotransmitters responsible for memory and attention to communicate with muscles and regulate movement.
The Mind-Body Dance
Dance is beneficial for the mind-body connection. Physically, your body is strong and flexible and dance enhances your cardiovascular system. Improved cardiovascular health increases oxygen-rich blood to the brain and promotes energy production and waste removal.
Dance keeps the body-mind interaction alive, and stimulates brain cells to grow and connect with each other in complex ways. By keeping your mind and body strong, and your brain sharp, you can discover your own fountain of youth.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.