Ballet: Could It Help Coordinate The Nervous System, Prevent Clumsiness?

First Posted: Oct 27, 2015 03:21 PM EDT

The art of ballet originated during the Italian Renaissance.

A new study suggests that if you're a bit clumsy, this type of graceful, disciplined dance may help out. The findings are published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Researchers found that ballet dancers used their muscles more efficiently than those who did not practice this type of dance.

During the study, researchers specifically looked at whether long-term training to enhance physical coordination, including dance training, affected how motor modules are recruited during movement. They compared the movements of professional dancers who had been practicing for over 10 years to those with no training in dance or gymnastics.

Previous studies have looked at how ballet helps the nervous system communicate and coordinate with each other by controlling brain movement and the leg muscles.

In the study, researchers tracked gait and muscle activity in the legs and torso as the subjects walked across the floor, across a wide beam and across a narrow beam.

Findings revealed that ballet dancers were better able to walk across the narrow beam when compared to untrained individuals--though both groups showed similar gait patterns when walking across the floor or the beam. Furthermore, the ballet dancers also used more of the same motor modules when walking across a floor as when walking across the beam compared with untrained individuals, supporting that training can affect control of every-day movements.

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