|Image for illustration only|
A 2017 German report in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience analysed brain scans from subjects who were on average 68 years old and engaged in either interval training or social dance. The study found that while both activities increased the size of the hippocampus, a region of the brain critical for learning, memory and equilibrium, only dance improved balance.
These results echo those of a 2008 Journal of Aging and Physical Activity study by Patricia McKinley of McGill University in which seniors participated in a tango dance programme. The report showed that long-term tango dancing was associated with better balance and gait in older adults. Since falls are the top cause of injury and death among elderly people, dancing can be a potent tool in extending one’s life.