Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy
Celebrate Black Life, History, and Culture!
Bob Dylan Talks!


Military and Veterans Discount


Rewards for Good Sweepstakes


Introducing RealPad by AARP


AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App



Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!


AARP Games - Play Now!


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


Can Dance Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's?

Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Some research suggests that regular dance classes can improve cognitive function and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.


Dr. Joe Verghese, associate professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in the Bronx, conducted a research study comparing the effects of different types of physical and mental activities. Dance was the only physical activity that was found to reduce the risk of dementia.


Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason, Verghese has a few theories. “Dance is a complex activity. You have to follow the music, remember the steps and improvise,” says Verghese. “And it’s a physical activity so it also increases the flow of blood to all parts of the body, including the brain.”


While Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association, agrees that the social and physical aspects of regular (at least twice a week) aerobic dance classes may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, she says that even learning a new dance doesn’t necessarily count as a mental activity. “Once a dance is practiced you don’t really think about it any more, it’s like driving a car. When we talk about increasing mental activity, we’re talking about learning a new language, a new subject, or reading a book.”


So if you want to be sure to increase your mental activity, you’ll have to compliment your dancing with a class on the history of salsa or a book on your favorite dancer or musician. 

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members get exclusive points offers from Walgreens, Duane Reade and

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points