10 Active Senior Hobbies

A study found that difficult dance steps can increase your brain function.
A study found that difficult dance steps can increase your brain function.

If you've ever danced around in private to a favorite song or cut a rug in a formal class, you have probably felt the rush of enjoyment and feelings of good health that come with dancing. Whether attending partner classes with a spouse or friends -- or even using dance experience to teach and lead others -- there's a great reason to keep at it: Dancing can make you smarter [source: Powers]. Ballet, tap, swing and fitness dancing all are great for the body and cardiovascular health, and they build muscle and increase balance. And according to a 21-year study sponsored by the National Institute of Aging in the U.S., tripping the light fantastic improves thinking as well [source: Powers]. The study found that the harder the class and steps, the better the chance of increasing brain functioning through learning and making fast decisions while switching up steps. Free dancing, or just-for-fun social dancing, has shown to be really beneficial, too, because it involves thinking about your next steps (and maybe whether or not a jump-up-landing-in-the-splits move is really a good choice at your age and fitness level) [source: Powers].

If you love to dance but can't get partners or friends to join you even with appeals about health and fun and relieving stress, try letting them know that you're smarter than they are.

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