The healing powers of dance

Diana Durham

Dancing is more than fun – it’s therapeutic. Do you remember watching swing dancers from the ’60s? Have you been sitting at the dances in SaddleBrooke watching the fun in front of you? Or maybe you don’t go because you don’t know how to dance? How do those couples do those dances? Can’t quite decide which foot goes where? Think you have two left feet? Now is the time to figure this out! Dancing is great physical and mental exercise, a lot more fun than going to the gym, and if they can do it, you can do it too. Dancing really is right, left, right, left. If you can walk – you can dance.

Some of the physical effects of dancing are obvious. Dance can boost cardiovascular health and bone strength (because dance is a weight-bearing exercise), and improve balance and flexibility. But there’s evidence it does much more.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine investigated the effect leisure activities had on the risk of dementia in the elderly. Researchers found that frequent dancing was the only physical activity of the nine studied that appeared to lower the participants’ risk of dementia, by 76%. The lead author of the study, Joe Verghese, a professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says he’s not sure why dancing had such a unique effect, but surmises that “unlike many other physical activities, dancing also involves significant mental effort and social interactions.” Both intellectual and social stimulation have been shown to reduce the risk of getting dementia.

Come dance with the SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Club. See another article in this paper that highlights the January dance classes and provides the schedule of future dance classes. The club’s goal is to provide dance classes, practices, dance parties, and other opportunities for SaddleBrooke residents to fully enjoy ballroom dancing. Monthly dance classes are available free to SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Club members. To become a member, visit, click on Membership, then Membership Forms and Info. You can print the registration form from the site.