Dancing linked to brain improvements, new Colorado State University study shows

DENVER -- You may think dancing is just for fun, but it can actually save your life.

That's what a group of researchers discovered in a new study by Colorado State University, which shows cutting a little rug is good for your brain.

While most people know exercise is great for your brain, this study reveals dancing is actually the best exercise for seniors.

Dancing is so beneficial, in fact, because it makes you think, it's physical and it's also social.

As people age their brain's wiring deteriorates, but don't tell that to dance instructor Dennis Giullian.

"I've been dancing so long that I started on a dirt floor because hardwood trees hadn't evolved yet," jokes Giullian.

Gullian is a senior citizen and teaches dance at the Grizzly Rose almost every day, and he has for the past two decades.

“It's a great social activity. You get to be with a lot of wonderful people, and it's great exercise, and to me learning more and more about dance is extremely important,” said Gullian.

CSU studied almost 200 seniors to discover older adults who dance frequently increase their brain speed and memory.

“It's energizing and you mix all ages and all levels of dancing. It's fun,” said dancer Vickie Meehan.

Researchers found it only takes six months of dancing to see improvements in brain function.

Dancers at the Grizzly Rose agree it’s hard not to smile while you're dancing, and you're a lot more likely to move if it's fun.

“It's good energy out here! It's a good place to be. Friendly atmosphere. Oh yeah!” said Meehan.

The study finds dancing in lines or square dancing is the best for brain engagement because you dance as an individual or move from partner to partner.

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