1. This difference is attributed to the extra challenge of learning dancing routines.
The researchers invited 62 healthy elderly volunteers aged 63–80 years to join the study and eventually chose 52 who met their inclusion criteria. They were then randomly assigned to the experimental dance group and the control sport group.
The content of the dance classes induced a permanent learning situation with constantly changing choreographies, which participants had to memorize accurately.
The program for the sport group included endurance training, strength-endurance training, and flexibility training.
Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, the area of the brain specifically prone to age-related decline. It also plays a key role in memory and learning, as well as keeping one’s balance. But only participants in the dance group showed volume increases in more subfields of the left hippocampus and only dancing led to an increase in one subfield of the right hippocampus, namely the subiculum.