Have you ever ordered a package online, and when you get it in the mail, there’s something extra in there? It’s a pretty great feeling, huh? Turns out, there’s an added benefit to CIZE that’s kind of like getting something free with each workout. In addition to having a blast and getting a great workout, which is why your participants are there in the first place, they’re also benefiting their brains!
Who doesn’t want that?!
Studies show the brain benefits of dance are both immediate and long term, and dance has even been associated with warding off devastating neurological diseases later in life.
We’ll come back to that one.
Let’s start with a 2013 article in Psychology Today pointing to studies showing dancers reach “peak performance by blending cerebral and cognitive thought processes with muscle memory and ‘proprioception’ (the sense of how our bodies are positioned) held in the cerebellum.”
Sounds like a lot of mental “muscles” working at once!
The article goes on to say, “Through regular aerobic training that incorporates some type of dance at least once a week, anyone can maximize his or her brain function.”
Did you catch the word anyone in there? Whether you are a beginner or expert, anyone can benefit, both physically and mentally, from CIZE LIVE.
This is proof mind-body wellness isn’t just for yoga!
You’re about to learn a high-energy, music-blasting workout that will work bodies and brains in unison. The best part? No math problems.
This isn’t a test
Just because dance may be beneficial to your thinking, it doesn’t mean CIZE requires complex thoughts.
You’ll get your workouts to a point where the movements simply clicks. By repeating movements many times, muscle memory kicks in. You will have to think less while your brain do more! You will be focusing on the music, flowing from one step to the next while thinking solely about getting into it and showing off personality! Heart rates will soar, it will feel like a party and everyone will be benefiting their brains without conscious, strenuous mental effort.
An article by BrainFacts.org, a public information website curated by leading neuroscientists around the world, quotes renowned dancer Mark Morris during a 2008 discussion as he explains the phenomenon:
“By the time you’ve done a particular sequence thousands of times it feels like nothing,” Morris said. “It’s like driving or something where you’re just there. You just got there and you don’t have to consciously look at your feet.”
Even when you’re not consciously thinking about how or when to make a dance move happen, your brain is getting its workout in!
The same article discusses that connection between mind and body, which makes muscle memory possible. Brains plan, coordinate, and execute the necessary exchanges to enable bodies to move in the right order, at the right time, and with just the right form.
Researchers explain further:
“Watching or executing a moment of dance, several regions of the brain may become active: they may speedily calculate spatial orientation, readjust motor signals, or attach emotional responses to the choreography.”
Sounds more beneficial to the brain than mindlessly running stairs!
Preventing disease with dance
Don’t expect to maximize cognitive function with just any type of exercise. Dance appears to better our brains more than other physical activities.
A long-term study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found dancing was the “only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia,” such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The study evaluated 11 physical activities, including swimming, bicycling, and other types of group exercise. Dance was the only one linked to a reduced risk of dementia. It was also shown to have a similar effect on lowering risk of dementia as cognitive activities, like reading, board games, and playing musical instruments.
If there’s ever a reason to keep dancing and attending CIZE LIVE workout for years to come, this seems to be it! Who doesn’t want to maximize brain function now and potentially reap the benefits later?!
And it’s not just Alzheimer’s.
According to BrainFacts.org, Parkinson’s disease (PD) destroys neurons within the same cluster of cells, called the basal ganglia, that are used and activated when a person dances. It goes on to explain the positive impact dance has on people with Parkinson’s. It says PD patients, who struggle with even the most basic movements, find “dance is a superb release and learning experience.”
An article in the Washington Post also discusses those benefits. While researchers call for more study, “Parkinson’s researchers nevertheless concluded that ‘the benefits of dance for those with PD appear to be of large enough magnitude to be clinically meaningful.’”
Studying dance and the brain
Scientists have taken great interest in learning more about the brain through dancers.
A 2011 article published in Acta Psychologica, a journal focusing on experimental psychology, found that dance “involves motor control, memory, imagery, and synchronization” and suggests that’s why dance is so intriguing to researchers:
“Dance is a rich source of material for researchers interested in the integration of movement and cognition. The multiple aspects of embodied cognition involved in performing and perceiving dance have inspired scientists to use dance as a means for studying motor control, expertise, and action-perception links.”
The same article discusses researchers’ interest in both movement and observation of movement. It suggests merely watching the instructor perform the dance moves first can stimulate the brain and points to studies showing “when observing action, we internally simulate the observed movement using similar brain regions used to execute the movement with our own body.”
In other words, you may quickly “mark” movements with your brain, just by looking at someone else doing them, even before putting the dance moves into action.
The new mind-body wellness
Let’s face it: Most people aren’t going to take CIZE LIVE just for the brain benefits, and frankly, that’s not what we’re hoping will happen. Instead, this form of mind-body wellness is simply an important added benefit. Dance uses and boosts that connection between body and brain in a way other exercises can’t. “Use it or lose it” can apply to the brain, too!
That physical and mental stimulation dance produces can also contribute to feeling energized, refreshed, and confident after a workout. It helps that a dance workout also provides motivating social experiences and support, which can enhance longevity!
Embrace this something extra about dance. It will encourage and inspire participants to work hard and prescribe themselves a dose of brain-boosting fun week after week!
About the Author: Erica Nochlin is a broadcast journalist for a major news network and a freelance writer working in the Los Angeles area. Her passion for health and fitness began when she took her first dance class at the age of 3. Since then, she’s acquired nearly 20 years of dance training and now focuses on sampling and evaluating new forms of group exercise. When she’s not reporting from the scene of breaking news, she also loves to tell the inspiring stories of everyday people reaching new heights!
The foregoing information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or replace the advice of a healthcare professional. The views and opinions of authors, trainers, experts, and any other contributors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect the attitudes, opinions, or endorsements of Beachbody, LLC or Team Beachbody, or their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, or partners, and may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes without the express written consent of Beachbody, LLC.