The Magic Eight
Five, six, seven, eight, one." This sequence of numbers, which at first glance seems a bit strange, should seem familiar to anyone who attends a dance school. Because there the beats of the music are counted in "eights" to Signaling students when to begin the rehearsed sequence of steps and at what pace to complete them. As someone who has been dancing for over 20 years and even taught others to dance during college, I have said the sequence thousands of times.
If you regularly hit the dance floor, you not only train your ability to count to eight. Because dancing is a pretty demanding job for our brain: it has to retrieve the right steps from memory, pay attention to the beat of the music, activate different muscle groups at the right moment and make sure that we don't lose our bearings in between, like them Psychologist and neuroscientist Julia Christensen from p.12 clearly describes. In this way, dancing not only keeps us physically and mentally fit, but may even have the potential to counteract neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's dementia (p. 22).
The stress-reducing and mood-enhancing effect of dancing is the most clearly documented. For that reason alone it would be worth digging out your dancing shoes and – in whatever form – to put a nice pair of soles on the floor.
And if you're afraid of making a fool of yourself, let me tell you: each of us is practically born with a certain affinity for rhythms. This is shown, for example, by studies with infants. Or, as Julia Christensen puts it in her article: "Anyone who answers the question ›Do you like music?‹ with yes can also dance!"
In this sense: five, six, seven, eight, one …