Salsa is smart: Latin dance may boost your aging brain

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While the study found no difference between the groups in cognitive tests at four months, after eight months people in the dance group had better scores.


(Cara Murez/ Healthday) — Latin dance classes may be a great workout and social outlet, but new research suggests that learning the intricate steps of the salsa, samba and merengue may also improve your memory.

In the study, a Latin dance program was offered to more than 300 Spanish speakers over four years at 12 different sites in Chicago.

After eight months of classes, assessments found significant improvement in participants’ working memory scores. Working memory is a type of short-term memory used to keep small amounts of information in mind while partaking in other cognitive tasks.

“We think it worked for several reasons. More time being spent active, that could be a reason. It could be the different components of the dance program itself,” said study author Susan Aguinaga, who worked on the program from its inception while a graduate student at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She is now a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (…)

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