Have you ever heard of popular dance programs like Jazzercise or Zumba? These types of programs focus on exercising to music with choreographed, repetitive steps. If you've never laced up your sneakers and hopped in (and men are welcome, too), you're missing out on a great way to see how coordinated you are in front of a bunch of strangers.

Dancing is good for you

While hopping around to blasting pop music may not be your thing, dancing is good for you. One recent study investigated the effect that dance experience has on cognitive performance and cortical gray matter thickness in older patients.

The scientists found that even with a thinner cortex, patients identified as dancers performed better in tasks involving memory and learning. Initial results look promising, and activities like dancing may help delay or even avert mild cognitive impairment that occurs as we age (Porat, 2016).

So you say you can't dance?

When you think of dancing, you might conjure up images of elegant, swan-like ballerinas, or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Even the wild kids of Footloose could shake it. Maybe you think you simply don't have the skill to dance.

It's true; you probably can't dance like Tina Turner in her high heels. But, you can still let your body move to your favorite music. It doesn't matter what kind of music you like because you can dance to virtually anything.

Dancing is an art form. But you can still express yourself, even with no experience. If you're too shy (or think you're too uncoordinated), then try dancing at home alone. Put on some headphones and shake your tailfeathers.

Let your body express the pent-up emotions you have inside. Try to clear your mind and focus on all the parts of your body that are moving.

When a body moves, it's the most revealing thing. Dance for me a minute, and I'll tell you who you are.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Exercises like dancing can help integrate your brain, and send blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex improving short-term memory and attention levels.

These benefits alongside the feelings of well-being that dancing offers will help you enhance your performance in leadership.

If you have the opportunity, try out a dance class!

Classes of all types are available for adults. No matter your age, you can still learn to salsa, belly dance or line dance. Many community centres and institutes of higher education offer low-cost or even free classes. You may not look like Ginger Rogers, but you can still have the benefits of a healthier mind and body.

Read: How Dancing Changed My Mental and Physical Health

  1. Porat, S., Goukasian, N., Hwang, K. S., Zanto, T., Do, T., Pierce, J., … Apostolova, L. G. (2016). Dance Experience and Associations with Cortical Gray Matter Thickness in the Aging Population.
  2. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders EXTRA, 6(3), 508–517. http://doi.org/10.1159/000449130 
Originally posted on: 3 August 2017
Last updated on: 18 February 2024
Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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