CHICAGO — A kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois recently explored how Latin Dance can benefit the memory of older Latinos.
Susan Aguiñaga is a kinesiology professor at U of I. Along with a team, she explored how Latin Dance can benefit the memory of older Latinos.
Aguiñaga explained that there were two groups of Spanish-speaking Latino adults who are middle-aged or older in the study. They were divided into two groups. One group was put in a classroom setting while the other was selected to participate in a dance program called Bailamos for four months.
Their findings show that individuals who were in the dance program had an improvement in their working memory compared to the other group.
“In terms of dancing to help improve or maintain memory, dancing has a learning and coordination component,” Aguiñaga said. ”So when we dance, we learn new steps. And we need to recall previous steps to develop dance sequences and turns.”
David Marquez is a professor at the University of Chicago. He helped create the dance program for the study, also known as Bailamos, or Let’s Dance in English.
Marquez said older Latinos don’t get a lot of physical exercise, which is one reason the study was created.
“There’s different ability levels of people in the classes because nobody’s a regular or professional dancer, so now you have to remember your moves, but also react to how your partner is reacting.”
Aguiñaga said she hopes this study will encourage more Latinos to be more physically active, which can include dancing to the rhythm of their favorite music.