Shake Your Groove Thing

It’s happening again. You’ve got music playing in the back of your mind and a strong urge to hit the gym and get your groove on – it’s Zumba time! This dance fitness program has really swept the nation and helped convert many a couch potato to a dancing fiend. But did you know that while you’re shaking your groove thing out there, you could actually be protecting your memory?

According to a 2003 New England Journal of Medicine study, dancing is the recreational activity that is most effective at reducing one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Out of every recreational activity, cognitive or physical, dancing came out on top. No need to Zumba either, you can salsa, tango or even waltz your way to good metal health. Just avoid performing memorized sequences. The key is to give some thought to each move and make some decisions on the dance floor.

Wondering what else you can do? When you’re not dancing, here are some other things you can do to help fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.

  1. Do Crossword Puzzles – In the same study, those who did crossword puzzles at least four days a week were 47% less likely to develop dementia.
  2. Consume More Omega-3 Rich Foods – Fatty, cold-water fish, walnuts and flaxseeds are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Why are these important for brain health? Well, about 60 percent of the human brain is made of fat, so fatty acids are in integral part of your brain’s performance. Ask you physician about this supplement.
  3. Sip on Green Tea – Green tea is notoriously high in antioxidants, which are believed to be effective at preventing plaque that forms in the brain as a result of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2011 Phytomedicine study found that regular consumption of green tea may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
  4. Get Regular Exercise – If you’re dancing every day, that’s great. If not, be sure to get some other form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  5. Keep Learning New Things – Much like a muscle, if you don’t exercise your brain regularly, it can get sluggish. So, if you find yourself in a position where you know everything, it’s time to take action. Learn a new language, take an adult ed class or just practice memorization.


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