Health Issues and Square Dancing

Health Issues and Square Dancing

Here is an article that talks about
dancing and

At the bottom of this page you will find links to
other pages
on the internet regarding dancing and health.

Rx for the Mind: Mind Games

A new study says playing games and doing puzzles wards off dementia,
supporting the use-it-or-lose-it theory.

Excerpt By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter


WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDayNews) — If you don’t use your mind
regularly through activities such as reading, doing puzzles or playing
a musical instrument, you risk losing some of your cognitive abilities
as you age.

That’s the message from a new study appearing in the June 19 issue
of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York
City found seniors who participated in mind-stimulating leisure
activities had a lower risk of developing the brain disease dementia.

“Subjects whose levels were in the top third of the cognitive
activity level had almost a 65 percent reduced risk of dementia,” says
study author Dr. Joe Verghese, an assistant professor of neurology at
Albert Einstein College.

The researchers measured cognitive activity levels by asking 469
people over the age of 75 what leisure activities they participated in,
and how often. All of the study participants lived in the Bronx, one of
New York City’s five boroughs.

Participating in a cognitive-stimulating activity one day a week
translated into one point on the cognitive activity level scale.

The researchers asked about a variety of activities, including
playing board games or cards, reading, writing for pleasure, playing a
musical instrument, doing crossword puzzles, participating in group
discussion, dancing, doing housework, walking, swimming, biking,
babysitting and participating in group exercise.

The cognitive activities that showed the greatest risk reduction
were reading, board games or cards, and playing a musical instrument.
Writing and participating in group discussions didn’t reduce the risk
of dementia. Physical activities, with the exception of dancing, didn’t
appear to greatly reduce the risk of dementia.

Every year, for an average of five years, the study participants
were evaluated. During the study period, 121 study volunteers developed

By comparing those who developed dementia with those who didn’t, the
researchers found that for one point on the cognitive activity level
scale, there was a 7 percent reduction in the risk of dementia. People
in the highest third had a score of 11 points or higher. That means
they participated in mind-stimulating activities more than once a day
each week. Their risk of developing dementia was 63 percent lower than
people who scored in the lowest third of the cognitive activity level

Verghese says the researchers weren’t able to include past history
of these activities in this study.

One reason people might have scored low on the cognitive activity
level scale, according to Verghese, is that they could have the
beginnings of dementia, but not show outward signs of the disease. To
control for this possibility, Verghese and his colleagues re-examined
the data, excluding anyone who developed dementia in the first seven
years of the study, and the results still held true.

Dr. Joseph Coyle, who wrote an accompanying editorial, says this
study provides a remarkable contrast to more complex dementia research
that focuses on the specific changes that occur in the brain as
dementia develops. He says after looking at that complexities in some
of that research, it’s hard to believe that something as simple as
playing cards could ward off dementia.

Nevertheless, he says, the results of this study are convincing.
“Effortful mental activities may forestall the onset of dementia,” says
Coyle, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Harvard Medical

Exactly how it occurs isn’t yet known, he says. But “participating
in these activities that use the brain may stimulate neurons to work
around the damage associated with the early stages of dementia,” he

So for now, both experts say it’s a good idea to engage in
activities that stimulate your mind throughout your life.

More information

For more information on dementia, go to the National Institute on Aging. To
learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Check these web links out for more articles about health
dancing (Links valid as of November 22, 2012):

here to go to NE Journal of Medicine
for the 2003 article
“Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly”

Click here
to go to NE Journal of Medicine
  a pdf article from 2003
“Walking Compared with Vigorous Exercise for the Prevention of
Cardiovascular Events in Women”

here to go to
for an article on exercise activities
that lift your mood.

here to go to
were you can find another article
about the benefits
of health and dancing.

here to go to
for an article on the unworkout, 7 ways to
get fit while having fun.

Click here to
see a
letter from the Mayo Clinic and Article by Dr. Arron Blackburn


to see msn’s webmd article about square dancing being good for body and


to see article Dance Your Way To Health


to see article on dancing from UT-Houston Medical School

to see MIT article on square dancing thriving and their
department giving physical education credit.  Note-Summer 2003

Click here
to see Go Ask Alice response to the benefits of dancing and your

Click here to
see the Toe Dragger Project “Square Dancing for a Healthily Lifestyle”

Click here to see
article by Bryant A. Stamford, PH.D. and Lee Walker, M.D.

Click here
to see AARP’s article “Let’s Dance to Health”  

to see an article on square dancing. (Not health specific, but
good PR
for square dancing)

Click here to
see UK square dancing health benefits.

to see Wall Street Journal article that mentions

to see Wall Street Journal article that is not health
specific, but good PR.

for information on book Rhythmic Activities and Dance. 
Click here for general
dance information.

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