Rhett Salmon and Kristie Simmonds find ballroom dancing as much a mental workout as a physical one.
Rhett Salmon and Kristie Simmonds find ballroom dancing as much a mental workout as a physical one. Blainey Woodham

Dancing keeps you in mind

SWINGING your hips on the dance floor may seem like frivolous fun, but it has the power to keep your brain cells ticking while your fingers are clicking.

A study performed by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and funded by the National Institute on Aging found frequent dancing has the power to make people smarter while warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was performed over 21 years with the aim of discovering if physical recreational activities influenced mental acuity.

Tweed ballroom dancer Rhett Salmon, 25, knows only too well how much mental energy is used for dancing.

“It’s good exercise and it’s good for co-ordination; it’s really a mental sport,” Mr Salmon said.

“When you dance you have to think before you move, and that’s why it’s so good for both your mind and body.”

Mr Salmon has been dancing for 17 years and believes his favourite pastime does improve mental acuity.

“It helps people at any age. There are a lot of older people still dancing and the kids’ classes at Danceland Ballroom where I teach are full. Dancing is for everybody,” Mr Salmon said.

“There’s a lot more to dancing than just the physical side; you have to count the beats, dance to the music, know how to lead and follow with someone all at the same time.

“In ballroom dancing it’s a partnership between you, your partner and the music.”

Mr Salmon and his dance partner Kristie Simmonds, 19, put their superior dancing and mental skills to the test over the weekend when they competed in the National Capital Dance Sport Championships in Canberra.

The Tweed dance team now have plans to take their dancing skills across the seas and to compete at an international level.

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine found the more you dance the more you think, and recommended that people begin dancing at a young age while revisiting the pastime frequently throughout their lives to achieve high mental acuity.



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