For years, it was widely believed over the course of your life you lost brain cells, called neurons, and there wasn't much you could do about it. Remember when teachers and parents told you not to kill your brain cells because you only had a limited supply? Well, modern medicine has since proven that's not the case. Research shows throughout your life the brain has the ability to adapt and regenerate - all it needs is the right environment.
Better still, the latest research shows dancing can increase the number of cells in the brain's hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for long and short-term memory as well as spatial navigation. It's also the area of the brain that is most susceptible to decline as we age - so we need to look after it.
Dancing Offers More Benefits Than Other Types of Exercise
Over 18 months neuroscientists compared the effects of two different types of physical activity - dance and sport. Half of the study participants participated in dance and half did a combination of strength, endurance and flexibility training.
After the 18 months of regular exercise both groups saw an increase the hippocampus. But, it was the dancers who also benefited from improvements in the right part of the hippocampus.
The study also highlighted how mixing up the music genres and choreography is beneficial, providing proof that regular changes in dance routine can make dance superior to repetitive physical activities such as walking or cycling.
Thus, while we know encouraging our employees to exercise is good, getting them to dance weekly could offer even greater overall benefits.
Dance Parties = Hot New Job Perk?
Based on this research, creating opportunities for employees to get their groove on could be a super way to create an environment for brain cell regeneration. Think of all those random employer flash mob videos you've seen go viral. Turns out, those companies were doing a lot more than improving employee morale. They were elevating their staff's mental and physical well being too. As a CEO who has danced her entire life and hopes to keep on dancing into her 90s, I think it's time for the team and me at Work It Daily to start turning up the radio on Fridays and breaking out our best moves!