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Give Your Brain a Workout

Brain Fitness? Try dancing ...

Throughout life, your neural networks reorganize and reinforce themselves in response to new experiences. Body-mind interaction is what stimulates brain cells to grow and connect with each other in complex ways. The human brain can continue to grow and improve with exercise.

It is essential for mental fitness to challenge your brain to learn, particularly activities that you've never done before. Examples include dancing, playing Euchre or Bridge; or practicing Tai Chi or Yoga; or learning how to enhance digital photos or turn them into a photo collages. Of the many challenges to seek for fitness is one that exercises simultaneously both the body and mind and that is to dance, be it tap, jazz, ballet, clogging, ballroom or hip-hop. Stay fit and stay alert.

Dr. Jonathan Skinner of Queens University Belfast recently presented research findings that strongly suggest regular dance sessions offer mental, physical and social benefits to seniors. These benefits seem to hold back the overall declines normally associated with aging: The seniors who dance seem to stay more engaged and motivated, have reduced aches and pains, combat the common sense of social isolation, even stimulate their immune systems in multiple ways.

Challenge Your Brain

Scientists no longer hold the longstanding belief that we lose vast numbers of brain cells as we grow older. The normal aging process leaves most mental functions intact, and may even provide the brain with unique advantages that form the basis for wisdom. The aging brain is also far more resilient than was previously believed. Our brains continue producing new neurons provided it is stimulated to learn new things such as dance steps.

Physical exercise has a protective effect on the brain and its mental processes, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Based on exercise and health data from nearly 5,000 men and women over 65 years of age, those who exercised were less likely to lose their mental abilities or develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s. (Referencee: The Human Brain.)

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Active Senior
Active Senior