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Les Mills welcomes research showing that dance is the best exercise to help stay mentally young

Les Mills welcomes research showing that dance is the best exercise to help stay mentally young
October 4, 2018

New research from global group fitness leader Les Mills suggests that exercisers can dance their way to good brain health.

Les Mills Head of Research Bryce Hastings sees that the brain has the ability to adapt and regenerate throughout a person’s life - all it needs is the right environment - and dance could be that environment

Hastings advises “getting your groove on is not just great for fitness, it’s great for your brain health too.

“For most of us dancing is both physically and mentally challenging. It combines the processing, coordination and execution of unique movements and requires a lot of genuine concentration.”

Latest research backs this up, demonstrating how dance can increase the number of cells in the brain’s hippocampus - the region of the brain responsible for long and short term memory as well as spatial navigation. It’s also the area of the brain that is most susceptible to decline as people age, so by actively increasing the number of cells in the hippocampus exercisers can, in turn, potentially lower the risk of suffering Alzheimer’s or dementia in old age.

The study involved 52 exercising seniors. Over 18 months neuroscientists compared the effects of two different types of physical activity - dance and sports training - on hippocampal plasticity and balance. Half of the study participants participated in dance and half did a combination of strength, endurance and flexibility training. Both groups did two 90-minute sessions a week for six months, followed by just one 90-minute session a week for another 12 months.

The study found that after 18 months of regular exercise both groups saw an increase in the hippocampus, but it was the dancers who also benefited from improvements in the right part of the hippocampus, an area called the subiculum, that is responsible for balance.

The study also highlighted how mixing up the music genres and choreography is beneficial, providing proof that regular changes in dance routine can make dance superior to repetitive physical activities such as walking or cycling.

For more information click here to contact Les Mills Asia Pacific via their entry in the Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory.

Images: Les Mills Dance (top) and Les Mills BARRE (below).

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5th July 2018 - World’s largest group fitness provider turns 50

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5th April 2011 - Les Mills to launch Sh’Bam Dance Workout


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