Get Loose! Dancing Helps Your Kids Concentrate

September 29, 2015  |  

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Like the “15 seconds can save you 15 percent” commercial, there is nothing new about the benefits of exercise. But is all exercise equal? It turns out that dancing is the only form of exercise that also enhances memory.

Should you sign up your kids for dance lessons? Or better yet, teach them those dance steps you perfected many years ago? I am going to guess that most children rarely see their parents dance.

In most cultures, parties are for the entire family. In the United States, however, we separate age groups. Dinner parties for the adults, birthday parties for younger kids, teenagers, etc. The consequence is that our kids are not exposed and learn from the older members of the family.

The other reality for many is families are so spread out, we may only see them at a family reunion. But when we get together, we dance. I always look forward to learning the new dance! Some of us grew up doing the electric slide, now-a-days the wobble and Cupid shuffle. In addition to showing off, having fun and bringing the family together, there are health benefits to bringing back the boogie. Dancing keeps us fit, increases our stamina, reduces stress, improves our sense of well being and improves memory for all age groups.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested swimming, walking, running and bicycling all help the body. But these activities do nothing for the mind, while frequent dancing improved both. According to the authors, dancing combines physical and mental activity and was associated with a 76 percent reduction in dementia. You can dance your way out of mental fuzziness.

It’s important to learn something new every day, especially a new dance step. Challenge your children’s minds with dance lessons, which integrates several brain functions and combines music, feelings and emotional expressions all in one activity. At the end of the day, all dancing is good, even when you are alone. But connecting with others, changing partners in a socially acceptable way and showing off add to the experience.

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