Dancing may deter dementia, research shows - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Dancing may deter dementia, research shows

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Researchers said that folks may be able to dance away dementia. (WFSB) Researchers said that folks may be able to dance away dementia. (WFSB)
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Dancing is both good for your body and mind, according to doctors.

It may be even more important for people to get moving as they get older, according to new research.

Researchers said that folks may be able to dance away dementia.

That's exactly what people at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Hartford are doing.

"It’s something you can look forward to," said Mary Doughtery, a 91-year-old dancer.

At 91, Doughtery can keep up with dancers half her age.

"I always wanted to dance and in high school it was war time," she said. "There was no guys around."

More than 20 years ago, she said she decided to take a lesson.

She's been doing samba at the West Hartford studio a couple of times a week ever since.

"That’s very challenging and exciting," Doughtery said.

Her mind is as sharp as her steps.

"There’s more than your brain involved, because there is a body memorizing piece too," she said.

That's exactly why doctors are saying "keep moving."

A study by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that seniors who regularly dance have a reduced risk of dementia and it's also great for socializing.

"Some of our students who are 80 plus, it’s definitely something that they’re battling with," said Clemens Lengenfelder, the studio owner. "It definitely keeps them sharp, keeps them focused because there is always a new challenge."

He said it's a challenge for every skill level.

"We have everything from children all the way up to me," Doughtery said. "The nice part about this is the age discrepancy disappears."

She proves that on the dance floor, age is just a number.

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