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Get your freak on if you want to live.

A study published in Frontiers in Human Neurosciencesuggests a boogie is good for your mind as well as your body.

A mix of men and women aged 68 and over took part in an 18 month exercise programme consisting of a weekly course of dancing lessons, or a weekly course of endurance and flexibility training.

According to the study's lead author Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, of the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Magdeburg, Germany both were found to reverse signs of ageing in the brain.

In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age.

In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioural changes in terms of improved balance.

As people age, the hippocampus area (which deals with, among other things, memory, learning, and, balance) tends to shrink.

This brain region is also affected by diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Both dancing and endurance training were found to reverse the shrinkage.

Previous studies have found that exercise combats age related brain decline, this was one of the first studies to examine what types of exercise work best.

Dancing was found to have a greater impact, possibly because of the mental power required to learn a new routine each week.

The endurance training typically featured repetitive exercises, such as cycling or Nordic walking, which may have exercised the hippocampus to a lesser extent.

Based on the research, the team are are putting together an exercise routine tailored to the elderly, one which will combat the effect of age on the brain.

HT PsychCentral

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