Learning to Salsa Boosts Seniors' Brain Health
Learning and practicing salsa dancing and the cha-cha-cha may boost brain health in older adults, new research suggests. In the BAILA randomized controlled trial, which included more than 300 older participants, those who participated in a Latin dance-training program showed significant improvement in their working memory and mobility — and had fun to boot. Dancing poses a "high demand" on attention and memory, and the process of recalling steps and learning new dance steps may be the reason working memory improved.
@jaya The trial tested whether a 4-month Latin dance program, followed by a 4-month dance maintenance program, could elicit positive changes on cognition and mobility in 333 older Latinx individuals. A total of 167 participants (mean age, 64; 141 women) were randomly assigned to the Bailamos Latin dance intervention and 166 (mean age, 66; 140 women) to a control group who received health education only. Bailamos, which in Spanish means "we dance," teaches merengue, cha-cha-cha, bachata, and salsa. The 60-minute dance classes were held twice weekly. As part of the program, participants initially learned four dance styles. During the maintenance program, four additional moves were added to each dance style, so participants were able to practice their new skills.