The constant argument of “Is dance a sport?” is inevitably endless. It is obvious how physically demanding dance is. The conditioning, stretching and practicing takes a toll on the body yet outsiders still seem to experience confusion when asked about the athleticism dance involves. So yes dance is a huge workout for the body, but did anyone ever take into consideration the effects dance has on the brain?
In addition to the awesome physical workouts, a dancer is simultaneously working his/her brain just as hard. According to Scott Edwards from the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute letter, “Dance, in fact, has such beneficial effects on the brain that it is now being used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological movement disorder.” He goes on to include the several regions of the brain that are being activated through dancing. These regions are the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. Each region controls something whether it be the planning or control of movement or even hand-eye coordination. So not only are various parts of the body moving but the brain is working just as hard by sending signals and working to keep up.
Edwards also briefs a study from the New England Journal of Medicine done by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine shows that dance lowers the risk of dementia more than other various physical activities. The mental effort mixed with the social interaction stimulates the brain. As a dancer, I additionally know that we learn movements on the right side and immediately have to reverse them on the left. This is evidently easier said than done and doing so also stimulates the brain, causing it to utilize majority of the regions.
Basically, a dancer is not only prancing around and keeping those pointed. A dancer is giving the brain a demanding workout as well.