A telling 2003 New England Journal of Medicine report showed a lower risk for dementia among people over 75 who regularly danced during leisure time. But what was so surprising about the report is that other types of physical exercise didn’t affect dementia risk — dancing was the only physical activity that made a difference.

NYT Well Blog

I’m slightly skeptical of the benefits of the type of dancing the guy is doing in the youtube video shared in the NYT blog post on dementia (though the benefits of promoting intercultural understanding through all his travels balance it out I’m sure) …but seriously, this is good news, indeed.

My own anecdotal feeling on this is that dancing not only physically good for you, but it forces the brain to create and strengthen new connections as it learns to coordinate movement with music, rhythm, control, and left/right awareness. I have seen this study cited before, and wonder if more follow up research has been done on the reasons for dance being a protective factor for dementia. The study abstract can be accessed here.

(Curious…if dancing is good for my brain, I wonder what dancing in a musical theater production is going to do for me to counterbalance the sleep deprivation; that is some serious brain multitasking! [see: My First Musical, parts I and II])