Everyone just assumes you physical & mental abilities get worse as you age.
Your ability to grasp complex emotions is highest when you are 50! Your vocabulary is at its optimal when you are 70!
And even loss from normal aging can be slowed or even stopped through exercise - but not just any exercise - DANCE!!!
In a recent study by Albert Einstein College of Medicine published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the areas of the brain (the cerebral cortex and hippocampus) that are most affected by aging can be engaged, rewired and utilized before they are lost. These areas are "remarkable plastic" and can be rewired be creating new neural pathways.
Although many activities can have positive health benefits, only dancing (and music) have proven to engage brain. The key is to involve yourself in activities which require split-second decision making and dancing is a great example. However, freestyle-type of dance, as opposed to rote memory or retracing the same steps (patterned line-dancing type), provide greater cognitive benefits.
Overall, dancing activates several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional — further increasing your neural connectivity.
But it is critical to start building your cognitive reserve now. Cognitive acuity is something that you "use it or lose it". So find a style of dance you love and take a dance or music class NOW and take it often!!!