What Can Dancing Do To Your BrainJanuary 1, 2020
What do the French king Louis the XIV, neuroscientist Erik Scherder and developmental psychologist Jean Piaget have to do with each other? More than you think! It is the puzzle pieces that answer the question “What does dance actually do for your brain?” I’m going to explain why dancing is the best way to train your brain – and why you would never have thought of it yourself. I will take you through the wonderful worlds of developmental psychology and ballet history, but first … neuroscience! What happens in your brain when you dance? And why is dancing better than running? Let’s find out.
What Does Dance Do to Your Brain?
It seems like a simple question, “What does dance do to your brain?” Contrary to what people thought for a long time, recent research shows that dancing activates many different parts of the brain. Just like taking anabolic steroid swfas as your brain activate and makes you alert. As you will read, a large part of the brain is involved in coordinating movement. And then we are not even talking about the influence of music on the brain! In this blog, I can therefore not do justice to the complexity of the influence of dance on the brain, but let’s take a look at the anatomy of the brain and how different parts are involved in dancing.
Dancing Makes You Alert
According to neuroscientist Paul MacLean, the brain roughly consists of three layers: the reptile brain, the mammalian brain, and the human brain. The so-called reptile brain is, from an evolutionary point of view, the oldest layer in our brain and consists of the brain stem, the small brain, and the basal ganglia. It is responsible for our primary urge to survive and for regulating vital functions such as breathing, heart rhythm, and body temperature. Also consider the gross motor skills and everyday movements such as walking, running and jumping, or when we automatically rock our heads to the beat of the music! An important function of this part of the brain is ‘winding up’ the brain so that we are alert. This winding is done through movements, such as walking or dancing.
Dancing Makes You Happy
The mammalian brain is younger from an evolutionary perspective and consists of the thalamus, the limbic system, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. This layer controls many unconscious processes, such as our emotions and part of our memory. It is actively involved when we dance with partners, touch each other or express our emotions through dance. The amygdala reacts to the facial expressions of others and determines in response to each new situation in which emotional reaction is most useful. In the article “ Why dancing feels so good” Dance psychologist Dr. Peter Lovatt explains why dancing is so good for you:
Dancing not only makes you happier but also more social. When dancing with a partner or group, people also touch each other, which releases the hormone oxytocin. this hormone lowers blood pressure, heart rhythm and cortisol levels. Dancing, therefore, reduces stress and increases prosocial behavior.