Dr Mosley: The ‘fun’ activity that plays a ‘big role’ in reducing heart disease risk

Michael Mosley discusses health benefits of drinking water

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“We’re doing something that’s going to improve our memory, boost our mood and our immune system and enhance our heart and brain health,” said the doctor on his podcast Just One Thing. “The most important thing it is fun – we’re dancing.”

While you might think you need practice or training to properly get into dancing, Dr Mosley shared that the opposite is true.

Plus, even the research that underlines the health benefits of this “fun” activity looked at amateur dancers.

The doctor explained: “Dancing can, for example, play a big role in keeping our hearts and brains healthy compared to other activities.

“Dancing was linked to a reduced risk of stroke or heart attack in a 12-year study of 50,000 adults.”

To explain the science behind how the activity cuts the risk of heart disease, Dr Mosley invited Dr Julia Christensen to help.

The expert shared that dancing offers plentiful benefits, including “important” protective factors against developing heart disease in old age.

However, it can also improve your heart health in your daily life. She said: “So many people don’t recognise dance as an important physical exercise, but dancing actually gets our heartbeat up over 140 beats per minute – that makes it an aerobic exercise.

“Very important to say that we are talking here about recreational dancing, and that is the dancing that has been related to increased health effects.”

Dr Christensen explained that dancing has been also shown to reduce hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is one of the best known risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

This means that reducing your reading can consequently lower your risk of these serious emergencies.

The doctor said: “So the mechanisms by which dancing has these potent effects might be the reduction of oxidative stress.

“There are studies that have compared people just listening to music and people dancing with music.

“There is a reduction of stress hormone levels after the session that involves dance.

“So, we know that having stress hormone in blood for too long down-regulates our immune system.

“It makes us more susceptible to diseases, but it also has a very negative impact on cardiovascular health.”

From heart to brain health, dancing offers a variety of benefits for your body while being fun.

Dr Mosley added: “I think dancing really is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind fit and healthy.

“There it is, dance even for just 10 minutes a day is just one thing you can do today and your heart, your brain and even your waistline will thank you.

“So that’s it. It’s just one thing you can incorporate into a daily routine.”

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