Does Ballroom Dancing Reduce the Risk of Dementia?

Odds are, you know someone who is affected by dementia in some way. That’s because more than 47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia worldwide, and that number is growing. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and while there is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet, there is still hope for those affected by the disease. Ongoing research has shown time and again that certain activities may help improve cognitive function and even hold Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia at bay. And guess what? Ballroom dancing is one of them! In fact, it is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia — by up to 76 percent according to one study! But how exactly can ballroom dancing help your brain? Find out!


Ballroom dancing is social. Not all forms of dance can reduce dementia risk, but social dancing is one that does. Into something more solo? It’s great for your health but not necessarily for your brain. You see, when you are dancing in a group or with a partner, you can’t always predict the movements of the other person. This requires you to make quick decisions while continually monitoring your surroundings. And this kind of thinking is GREAT for your brain. It improves neuroplasticity and improves cognitive activity — i.e. It keeps your brain in tip-top shape!


Ballroom dancing involves improvisation. Any kind of freestyle dancing is great for reducing the risk of dementia, and ballroom dancing is no exception. While some ballroom dances do require memorizing and retracing the same steps over and over, others, like the foxtrot, waltz, swing and tango, to name a few, involve constant improvisation as you make your way around the dance floor. This is great for keeping your cognitive abilities sharp and focused. And it’s also really fun!


Ballroom dancing involves learning something new. One of the best things you can do for your brain is to continue to learn new things. The biggest cognitive improvements occur when you’re doing something you’ve never done before. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to form new neural pathways, and one of the reasons this can occur is because you learned something new. The catch? If you don’t continue to use and grow on what you learned, you will start to lose that neural pathway. Forcing your brain to rewire its neural pathways can greatly reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. That’s why it’s so important to continue feeding your brain with new things to learn as you age! And with ballroom dancing, you’ll be learning new steps and dance moves every time you get out on the dance floor.