Bay area seniors dance to reduce their risk of dementia

Posted at 5:23 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 17:23:29-04

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month and people across the Bay Area have found a new way to battle the effects of the incurable disease. 

Just ask Joanna Kellogg, a cancer survivor, who credits ballroom dancing to lifting her spirits after getting treatment. Turns out, it might be doing even more than that.

Kellogg says, "my cognitive skills increased so that was an extra bonus that came along with the dancing."

The New England Journal of Medicine did a study that showed seniors who participated regularly in ballroom dancing had a nearly 80 percent reduced risk of dementia. Dancing was the most effective of any activity in the study.

Kelle Chancellor with Fred Astaire Ballroom Dancing says, "(with) ballroom dancing you have a whole different aspect of trying to remember things."

Mike Smith also participates in the weekly activity.

"I'm surprised at how much dance, ballroom dance occupies my mind, it's like a moving puzzle and I like puzzles," says Smith. 

One neurologist says dancing hits all the areas critical for healthy aging.  

"Doctors are always saying a body in motion stays in motion, a brain in motion stays in motion," says Chancellor.

Kellog says, "I think it makes you feel more confident with yourself, and you have a lot more social interaction with other people which is wonderful."