Does Dancing Make You Smarter?
As absurd as it might sound, dancing has been scientifically proven to enhance one’s brain capacity as well as mental wellnesses, aside from physical benefits such as losing weight.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine conducted on senior citizens, participants who had higher levels of leisure activities such as dancing had a lower risk of dementia. Compared to other physical activities, regular dancing reduced the risk of dementia more than any other activity.
- Reading – 35% reduced risk
- Bicycling and swimming – 0%
- Doing crossword puzzles at least 4 days/week – 47% reduced risk
- Playing golf – 0%
- Dancing frequently – 76% reduced risk a.k.a the greatest figure!
The act of dancing involves heavy multitasking – doing the action itself, syncing the action to the background music, remembering the next dance move, counting beats, and many, many more.
Dancing integrates several brain functions at once; kinesthetic, emotional, musical, physical, rational, etc., (https://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm) which probably explains why it can be complicated (and daunting, at first), but once it has become a habitual routine of ours, the endless benefits dancing can provide for us are tremendous, and becoming more intelligent is one of them.
Coming from personal experiences, after dancing for a prolonged period, I noticed that my memory storage seemed to have somewhat expanded, although in a subtle manner.
Absorbing information seems smoother and miraculously, it is easier for me to concentrate in classes. One other fortunate thing I also observed was that I do not get fatigued as easily, hence I was able to give my 100% attention to my university lecturers most of the time, which was so unlike me in the past – my attention span was incredibly short but it seemed to improve after attending more dance training in my hall of residence. It was just a phenomenon that I observed after a while.
So how exactly does dancing make us smarter?
- It teaches us to learn quickly
I mean, look at all these sensational TikTok videos that have gone viral worldwide. I’m sure many of us are guilty of attempting to recreate or mimic at least a catchy dance video online, but I’m sure you’re unaware of how capable the human bodies are in learning a dance item quickly. Learning (and mastering) a viral TikTok dance within an hour? Easy game.
It simply proves that memorization may be an easy feat after all, and this skill can come in handy especially when it comes to examinations and tests. After dancing for some time, your ability to memorize is bound to improve, and absorbing any information will subsequently get easier as time goes by.
It is no wonder why some dancers have the capabilities to learn quicker than others while the rest of us may require more time. But trust me, as you continue to dance and practice, your ability to grasp the ropes quickly will be enhanced according to some dance seniors in my hall.
- It unleashes your creativity
I’m sure all of us have friends who will produce random bursts of dance, whenever any music is played in the background. Freestyling certainly encourages one to be free and groove to the music. Choreographing is also another way to enhance your creativity.
A few years ago, I took on the role of orientation house leader and had to choreograph for my house dance in an orientation camp.
To my surprise, the audience enjoyed it and found it entertaining. For someone like me with little to no prior experiences in dance, I was amazed at how I could uncover ideas I previously would not expect to think of and piece everything together. My friend even remarked, “Wow Chelsie you have hidden potential huh!” which was a huge compliment.
One of our dance practices before the actual performance.
The actual showcase during orientation camp.
Learning a new dance item is never easy it can be daunting especially to new dancers in the scene. To capture the correct move at the right timing, we’re somewhat engulfed in the idea that we have to get it right to produce an appealing dance move, eventually leaving with satisfaction.
For example, a random KPOP dance practice video that your Korean idols have just released on YouTube. Many fans (both amateur and experienced dancers) would want to learn the new dance as soon as possible. But hey, let’s not underestimate these fans because their determination to learn and master the dance is incredible!
It is no doubt that learning a new dance item with the ultimate goal of wanting to ‘perfect it’ makes us determined and this persistence is pretty admirable. This life skill can be translated into other aspects of life too!Conclusion
Dancing requires us to constantly learn new steps and in the process, our brains are being engaged to recognize patterns while hurriedly thinking of the next move. Of course, practice makes perfect so your dance moves will look smoother and more natural after practicing hard.
Dancing helps us to improve our cognitive abilities since we are required to make split-second decisions all the time (i.e. which position to go into next, which dance move appears after this, syncing to the music). As such, we are always required to use our critical thinking skills more often than we expect to or realize, and this inevitably enhances our brain capacity to do things.
That being said, dancing can certainly aid to reduce stress levels and boost your energy, but you should not depend solely on dancing to ace in your academics or work. That’s impossible. Results may differ for each individual but based on personal experiences as well as past scientific studies, dancing may help to enhance our intelligence.
Ultimately, it is just revenue for you to let loose and have fun, but the side benefits dancing has such as enhancing our mental wellnesses is a partial element in keeping us going. Keep dancing and keep groooving!
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Chelsie is a typical student on this sunny island - in her free time, she would either be exercising, watching random dance clips and Mukbangs on Youtube, or Netflixing.