Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Research strongly supports the hypothesis that dance can help ward off Alzheimers disease and other dementia illness. Studies also find that at any age dance improves cognitive acuity and neural connectivity - see my blog Exercise and Memory.
"A thorough meta-analysis of 1603 studies of exercise and dementia (Ahlskog et al 2011) showed that participants with dementia had better cognitive scores after six to 12 months of exercise compared with sedentary control groups." And a 21-year prospective study involving elderly participants found the only activity that lowered dementia risk was dancing. Dance lowered the participant's risk by an astonishing 76%. (Ref 1)
Here I teach and dance with some of my lovely students at 2Ballerinas in Brisbane.
Of course dance is also social, fun, exhilarating and the exercise component releases natural endorphins. It makes you happy.
Personally I notice that as a competitive memory athlete, when I have taught dance or danced on a given day my memory scores are remarkably higher.
For the best chance at a healthy mind and body, most of us will benefit from a combination of dance and regular exercise, a healthy plant-heavy diet and memory training.
Reference (1) : http://journalofdementiacare.com/the-joy-and-freedom-of-dance/