Why do we dance…or how do I slow my aging brain?

Your happy neighbors are tearing up the dance floor on Wednesday and Saturday Line Dancing in classes provided by Rebecca Magdanz for over six years at the Ranch.

Your happy neighbors are tearing up the dance floor on Wednesday and Saturday Line Dancing in classes provided by Rebecca Magdanz for over six years at the Ranch.

Dr. Mark Magdanz

Delaying the effects of aging has become one highly researched topic as our Boomer Generation retires. Aging is inevitable, but we may delay the rapidity and severity of life’s changes. Some things, if done, delay brain decline caused by aging. These are well established: 1) Stay socially active, read and mental activities, 2) Exercise, 3) Minimize and/or effectively deal with stressful events. 4) Maintain a healthy diet.

Many have thought our brains peak in our 20s. Great news; nope! As the brain’s natural ability to form new connections (to compensate for injury, illness or environmental change) is better researched, there is good news. Processes of connection creation and repair are occurring even within our “older” brains. Music and dance have known power over emotions and cognition. Great news for dance/music lovers is that scientists are proving the positive effects of music on the brain activity. Dr. A. Patel, Harvard Ph.D. has said that music involves structure, repetition, emotion and attention. He calls it a “recipe for brain plasticity.” In simple terms, if you want to create a more dynamic and vibrantly functioning brain, add music to your activities whenever possible. What do you need to enjoy dance? Music.

So, the point is, find activities that provide you with positive physical and mental benefits that improve your life/brain. Many residents favor line dancing. Why? It provides social interaction, cardio and physical exercise, memorization, musical exposure, balance and coordination. It’s a great recipe for every brain need, except we don’t allow food. As you search for exercise that you can enjoy year-round, consider things that improve your brain and body at the same time. That’s efficiency. No matter how you spend your coming years, enjoy them with a song!

Special note for men: If you ever plan to learn to dance with your wife I suggest you learn line dance first! Learning to move my feet, “lead”/direct a frustrated wife, decide our next move and avoid collisions on the floor was about the most frustrating activity I ever undertook. Line dancing first would have helped so much as I would have known more about how my feet would move before being responsible for everything else going on around me. I dream that someone had guided me to line dance first. You can be ready for any fun.

The next series of classes for Beginner/Level 1 dancing begins Wednesday, April 24. The Level 1 Beginner series runs into June with some snowbirds being able to do a partial series if floor space allows. Lessons are on Wednesday and/or Saturday. Level 2 follows Beginners. Some students take both Wednesday and Saturday classes.

For information and placing your name on reservation lists, contact Rebecca Magdanz at [email protected] or phone 818-2656. Rebecca is a 13+ year, full-timer in SaddleBrooke. Rebecca is in her sixth year as a professional line dance instructor in SaddleBrooke Ranch.