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Dance has been an integral part of human nature for as long as humans have walked the earth. Ancient murals dating all the way back to 3300 BC (so 3300 years before we started counting years the way we do today) have pictured people dancing. There is even archaeological evidence for the existence of dance in India 30,000 years ago. Clearly, we humans like to get our groove on!

DANCING AND THE BRAIN

And that’s a good thing, because the benefits of dancing cannot be overstated. Did you know, for example, that dancing has such incredible effects on the brain that it is now being used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological movement disorder? It is most likely the combination of music and movement that leads to dancing’s beneficial effects. Music stimulates the brain’s emotion and reward centers (which is why music can make you feel intense emotions), while the movement itself helps improve our memory. Better yet, neuroscientific research suggests that dancing can actually lower the risk of developing dementia, more than any other form of exercise, including cycling, golf, swimming, and tennis! The main reason for this benefit seems to be that dancing involves both a mental effort and social interaction, and that this type of stimulation reduces the risk of developing dementia.