Senior Moments: Dancing Boosts Cognitive Skill

Stay sharp as you age by tripping the light fantastic. Medical research confirms ballroom dancing can improve cognitive skills in the elderly. 


Cognitive skills are the tools your brain uses to control memory, solve problems, learn, read, and pay attention. They also control your long-term memory. It’s natural for cognitive skills to slowly decline as a person ages. It’s common for seniors to have a harder time making decisions on the fly, experience a dip in muscle power, and an increase in fatigue. Cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease exacerbate the problem, according to ScienceDirect, a medical journal. 


Healthy Habits Improve Cognitive Skills in the Elderly 


If this resonates with you, the good news is you can adopt some simple lifestyle changes to stem the decline of your cognitive skills. WebMD recommends making a few healthy habits part of your regular routine. 


  • Focus on physical health. Stay up to date on all doctor’s appointments and take prescription medicines to manage any chronic health issues, like high blood pressure or diabetes. Make sure to get enough sleep and limit your alcohol intake.
  • Adopt a healthy diet. Protect your brain by nourishing your body with healthy, nutritious food. Make sure to eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables and lean meats. Save processed foods, sugar, and salt for special occasions. 


  • Get regular exercise. Exercise is a balm for the body and soul. Adopting a regular exercise routine will improve your strength and balance. Exercise increases endurance and bolsters heart health. 


  • Find a hobby. Retirement is prime time to take part in all the passions you put on the back burner while juggling a career and family. Finding a new hobby will keep your mind healthy and alleviate the doldrums.  


Ballroom Dancing Good for Brain and Body 


If you’re ready to focus on improving your quality of life, Fred Astaire Dance Studios recommends signing up for ballroom dance lessons to brush up on your dance moves. One hour of ballroom dancing burns approximately 320 calories, improves muscle strength, increases flexibility, and limits joint pain. Dance lessons are a low-impact workout that’s fun. 


Most importantly, learning ballroom dance steps is great exercise for the mind. Dance lessons help improve cognitive skills in the elderly. Memorizing the steps to the tango, cha-cha, and jive may help you stay at the top of your game. A comprehensive medical study reveals ballroom dance therapy has a positive impact on the quality of life for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Dancing, reading, and playing board games or musical instruments help reduce the risk of dementia, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. 


Fred Astaire Dance Studios offers private and group ballroom dance lessons at our local studios for both singles and couples. Our studios are infused with an upbeat, social atmosphere. The instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios have the training and experience to get you started promenading across the dance floor in short order. 


If you think you’re too old to take a dance class, check out these seniors busting a move. 


In the first video, a group of seniors get groovy dancing to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. 

Carol and Michael Garland are in their 70s, and still perform and teach ballroom dance lessons. 

Seniors at the Waupaca Senior Center in Wisconsin learn how to line dance. 

To learn more about how ballroom dancing can help improve cognitive skills in the elderly, or to schedule an introductory class, contact your local Fred Astaire Dance Studios today.