It's wonderful what science can tell you these days, especially when you agree with it. Recent research tells us that indulging in regular exercise improves health and reduces the risk of an early death by helping to:
achieve and maintain a healthy body weight;lower blood cholesterol;reduce blood pressure in people who already have hypertension (high blood pressure);improve self-esteem and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, depression;build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints;and keep older adults physically strong and better able to move about without falling or becoming too tired.
Regular physical activity can also help to reduce the risk of:
having a second heart attack in people who have already had one;
developing high blood pressure;
developing type 2 diabetes;
developing colon cancer and possibly other cancers;
A study from the University of Strathclyde, in 2010, showed Scottish country dancing to be superior to other forms of physical activity in building levels of fitness. A Canadian study found Scottish country dancing to be superior to folk and square dancing, and research from the University of Cumbria, published in January 2014, suggests that participation in Scottish country dancing could reduce the ageing process. It also helps to prevent dementia through the complex interplay of cognitive skills needed to memorise steps and formations, interaction with other dancers, and the effect of dance music on the mind. The social aspect of Scottish country dancing develops a sense of community and enjoyment, which encourages continued participation, and long term involvement, and is linked with good health, a positive attitude and longevity.
The benefits of Scottish country dancing have been recognised by the Scottish Parliament which supported a motion, in 2012, welcoming the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society’s Health strategy.
An article in the journal New Scientist mentions a study of adult dancers and aerobic exercisers, with MRI scans of the participants. They found that the hippocampus, a structure in the brain related to learning, spatial awareness, long-term memory and balance, actually got bigger while the rest of the brain shrank in size.