A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who regularly participate in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dance has the most profound effect.
The dance would be able to reverse the aging of the brain:
“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing or even counteracting the decline in age-related mental and physical ability,” says Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. of Magdeburg.
“In this study, we show that two types of physical exercise (dance and endurance training) increase the surface of the brain, which decreases with age, whereas it was only dance that caused remarkable behavioral changes in the brain. terms of improving the balance. “
Older volunteers, averaging 68 years old, were recruited for the study and received either an eighteen-month weekly dance training course or endurance and flexibility training. Both groups showed an increase in the region of the hippocampus of the brain.
This is important because this area may be subject to age-related decline and is affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. She also plays a vital role in memory and learning, as well as maintaining balance.
Although previous research has shown that exercise can combat age-related brain decline, it is unclear whether one type of exercise may be better than another. To evaluate this, the exercise routines given to the volunteers differed.
The traditional fitness training program consisted mainly of repetitive exercises, such as cycling or Nordic walking, but the dance group was challenged with something new each week.
Dr. Rehfeld explains:
“We have tried to provide our elders in the dance group with ever-changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, Square, Latin American and Online Dance). The second week to keep them in a constant learning process. The most difficult aspect for them was to remember the routines under the pressure of time and without any sign of the instructor. “
These additional challenges are thought to explain the noticeable difference in the balance displayed by the participants in the dance group. Dr. Rehfeld and his colleagues are building on this research to test new fitness programs that have the potential to maximize anti-aging effects on the brain.
“Currently, we are evaluating a new system called” Jymmin “(jamming and gymnastics), a sensor-based system that generates sounds (melodies, rhythms) based on physical activity. We know that patients with dementia respond strongly. when they listen. We want to combine the promising aspects of physical activity and active music in a feasibility study with patients with dementia. “
Dr. Rehfeld concludes with tips that could get us out of our seats and dance at our favorite pace.
“I think everyone would like to live an independent and healthy life for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, by counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline. I think that dance is a powerful tool for defining new challenges for the body and the mind, especially among the elderly. “
This study is part of a broader collection of research on the cognitive and neuronal effects of physical and cognitive activity over the life span.
Other results may come to provide us with interesting information in the near future on methods to slow aging and cognitive decline.
The dance would be able to reverse the aging of the brain: for more information : Kathrin Rehfeld et al, Dancing or Fitness Sport? The Effects of Two Training Programs on Hippocampal Plasticity and Balance Abilities in Healthy Seniors, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2017). DOI: 10.3389 / fnhum.2017.00305