Dance to bigger and better brains

Dr. Mark Magdanz

This month let’s talk about brain/body health; we want to grow new and maintain old connections. What’s the fastest way to improve brain function? Literally, play in its many forms is among the very best. The hit parade on the best activities for your brain includes: learning and reading new things, socialization, any and all exercise, memorization, listening to music, minimizing stress, moving in ever-changing patterns and eating right. We are fortunate to have many choices for exercise in SB Ranch; all are good in their own way. So, do your favorites as much as you can. The brain improves faster when we give it some challenges at the same time. Therefore, this column is not going to talk about bikes, weights, swimming or repetitive aerobic classes. All good for the oxygen/cardiovascular needs but not brain expanders.

Mental games have been touted as a means to keep your brain agile and strong. Brain teasers, crosswords, puzzles, Sudoku, etc. Board and card games do some of the same but with the added dimension of socialization. Bridge can be a lifelong passion. Chess can be great; checkers not so hot. New research indicates that results from games alone are much less helpful than physical exercise that includes the mind. The problem is board/card games don’t give us the oxygen push that our brain badly needs.

It turns out that among the very best activities is dancing in all forms that include group participation. Partner and line dancing! It’s a group laughing, learning and perfecting movements together on a floor. Dancing provides some aerobic activity, learning, balance, coordination, social interaction and fun. Lots of laughter is also proven to be great for the immune system. Since music is also a component of dance, it is now utilized as a therapeutic treatment modality for mental disease.

Also, among the biggest functional activities to prevent brain decline is to get out of your house and play/interact more with others.

If you call after reading this it will be three-four weeks into the current dance series, so be planning ahead to list yourself for the series beginning in mid-October. This Fall Beginner classes will be enjoyed Wednesday and Saturday. Both Beginner/Level 1 and the more advanced Level 2 group dance on each day. Note: The Level 2/Intermediate class is substantially more vigorous and dances are more complex, plan to be in Beginner group at least one series unless experienced and quite fit. Rebecca takes pride in professionally modifying dances accommodating physical limitations, safety, comfort and in developing dancer’s physical skills.

Classes for fall 2018/winter 2019 are accepting reservations and now is the time to place your name on one of the class lists. Contact Rebecca Magdanz at [email protected] or phone 818-2656. Rebecca is a 13+ year full-time SaddleBrooke resident teaching classes about 42 weeks each year. Rebecca has taught Ranch residents for over five years and in Robson communities for over ten years.