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Living Well: Dancing for Dementia

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It's been 15 years since Barb and Ron Luginbill took their first dance lesson together.

It was their daughter's wedding dance that inspired the troy couple to give it a try, but dancing was in Barb's blood.

Unfortunately, dementia runs in Barb's family too.

Her mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s, so Barb is particularly interested in research that suggests dancing can help reduce the risk of developing dementia.

A 21 year study compared different physical and cognitive activities.

Although most of the physical activities improved cardiovascular health.

They had little impact on the brain.

"Dancing frequently" reduced the risk of dementia by 76%.

Compare that to 47% from doing crossword puzzles, or 35% from reading regularly.

That combination of physical, mental, social, and musical challenges creates new neural pathways in the brain.

A recent German study found older people who took weekly dance lessons reversed some signs of brain aging.

Particularly in the hippo-campus region -- which plays a key role in memory and learning. 

Participants also improved their balance.

Most class participants said, it's really a lot of fun and something they look forward to each week.

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