Dancing can boost your brainpower and memory, says science

Photo credit: BraunS / Getty
Photo credit: BraunS / Getty

From Country Living UK

If you've ever watched Strictly Come Dancing and thought you'd love to give it a go yourself, then new research may just have given you the perfect reason to sign up for classes...

According to new research, it looks like taking just one salsa class can have a surprising effect on your brain, boosting understanding, focus and memory by up to 18%.

The discovery was made in Dr Michael Mosley's BBC One programme The Truth About Getting Fit – which aired on Wednesday (31 January). During the experiment by Coventry University scientists, volunteers were given a series of mental tests, assessing everything from their memory to their focus, before taking a 30-minute salsa class and then being re-tested afterwards.

Incredibly, this short class was shown to have boosted their understanding by 8%, their focus by 15% and their memory by 18%.

Chatting about the results, study leader Professor Michael Duncan revealed he had never seen such impressive results from other forms of exercise.

"Dance is physically active but it's also very coordinative," he said. "You have to think about the steps, you have to think about the pattern, you have to think about staying in time with the music.

"So that requires a lot of cognitive manipulation while the dance is going on, while you are also physically exerting yourself."

So, there you have it, it might be time to channel your inner Anton du Beke...

The Truth About Getting Fit is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

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