We all know that exercise is good for our body, mind, and soul. We see the physical benefits of exercise on a regular basis, and we’ve widely accepted that moving is better than not moving.
But which exercise is the best of them all?
With so many options out there and new forms of physical exercise popping up all the time, it can be hard to decide which is right for you.
The truth is that what works for one person might not be the best or safest choice for another person.
Swimming was once thought to be the most fulsome exercise on the planet because it engaged your entire body at once, but it turns out a lot of people can’t swim. And it turns out that a lot of people don’t swim properly and hurt themselves.
Plus, not everyone has access to water or pool on a regular basis. So there goes that theory.
It turns out that the most effective form of exercise, and the one that can help to slow down the aging process, is dancing.
A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who regularly dance can reverse the signs of aging in the brain.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Here’s the thing about dancing: even if you are doing it wrong, you are doing it right.
We’ve all heard the saying “dance like nobody’s watching.” This is a metaphor for life, and it literally means dance whichever ways you want.
The great thing about dancing is that you can relax into it, or you can get your heart pumping at intense rates.
Everyone does it differently, and that’s amazing. Sure there are “dances” that people learn and perform, but when they mess up, you can’t tell.
The act of dancing is beautiful, and you can’t help by tap your foot when you hear music and see someone else dancing.
Dancing Encourages Muscle Growth and Balance
You might not consider the mechanics of dancing when it comes to improving your health and slowing down the aging process, but researchers have found that dancing is the only exercise that can do have lasting impacts on your health.
And the great thing about dancing is that you can literally do it anywhere.
Have you ever found yourself walking through the aisle of a supermarket and a song comes on over the speaker system, and you catch yourself shaking your hips as you push your grocery cart down the aisle?
Dancing is contagious. It encourages the body to develop balance and spatial awareness that can make your body stronger.
Dancing Promotes Memory Improvement
When a group of elderly participants were asked to learn a series of dances, the results were pretty impressive.
As we age, our memories start to deteriorate. It can take humans longer to learn something, and it can be harder to retain that information over time.
With dancing, you have the added benefit of muscle memory as well as cognitive memory. Your body learns to anticipate and associate dance steps, and that helps to jog your cognitive memory throughout the dance.
When compared with a group of athletic activity participants, the dancers showed signs of improved memory, while the athletes did not.
Think You Can’t Dance? Think Again
While not everyone was born with the gift of rhythm, everyone can feel a rhythm and move their body to it. Music is universal.
Dancing has been part of rituals, religions, ceremonies, and life since the dawn of time. Dancing is natural and easy to do.
There’s no special equipment that is needed, and you can break out into a dance in your kitchen while you stir the pasta in the pot.
In general, physical activity can improve your life, improve your memory, and make you feel better on a regular basis, but dancing is the only exercise that can make you feel alive!
So the next time you find yourself resisting the urge to dance in the supermarket, bust a move and smile to yourself that you are helping improve your life and lifespan.
Learn some new dances to keep things interesting and just have fun with it. And if people are watching, encourage them to dance too. There’s no right way to do it!
A quick message from Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit
In 2018, the third year of Hack Spirit, I poured thousands of hours and considerable resources into creating these articles. It's a labor of love and remains free thanks to your patronage. If you found any value in these articles, please consider supporting what I do with a donation. Your support is what helps me to continue creating more Hack Spirits articles. To make a donation, click the "donate" button below and choose between a single donation or monthly.
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook: How to be Your Own Life Coach: 10 Essential Steps to Creating a Life You Love. Perfect for setting new year goals and actually achieving them!
- Learn the 10 crucial steps to creating a life you love
- Practical techniques and exercises throughout to work out who you are, where you are and what you want to achieve in life
- Affirmations, quotes and motivational techniques to keep you going...even through tough times
- Practical case studies showing what works and what doesn’t