The Mayo Clinic reports that areas of the brain controlling memory and skills like planning and organizing improve with exercising. Include dance and you increase the benefits by adding rhythm, balance, music and a social setting.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that older sedentary adults who participated in a Latin ballroom dance program reported improvements in memory, attention and focus.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips to get dancing:

— Sign up for a dance class and invite your friends. Find classes at a community college, YMCA, dance studio or community center.

— Try dancing at home by following along with a video. Easy-to-follow, free exercise videos are available at the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life YouTube channel.

— For an extra challenge, add small weights. Keep a 2- or 5-pound weight in each hand while dancing.


Get active each day to get healthy

The following tips for activities to add to your daily routine come from onegreenplanet.org.

1. Aim to get in a 20- to 30-minute walk or jog each day to help increase energy and help you focus.

2. Lift something heavy for five minutes every day, preferably over your head, to strengthen the body.

3. Don’t over sit your welcome. Stand more often. Sitting can make you tired and slow down your metabolism.

4. Practice active errands and commutes. Park farther away. Take the stairs.

5. Do some sort of stretching every day to help blood flow and release muscle tension.

6. Spend a little time outside to help prevent depression and gain some natural vitamin D.

7. Try yoga. Yoga reduces stress by reducing cortisol in the body.


Hugging for better health

Family therapist Virginia Satir is quoted as saying, “We need four hugs a day to survive, eight hugs to keep us as we are and 12 hugs to grow.”

Embracing activates the hormone oxytocin, which promotes a feeling of trust and social connection. It also lowers your body’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, according to prevention.com.

Whether you believe in a hug quota or not, here are some reasons for a healthy embrace, according to an article at goodnet.org:

— Hugging is heart healthy.

— Hugging reduces stress naturally.

— Hugging can help regenerate muscles.

— Hugging can make you a more mindful and present person.

— Hugging can minimize fears.


Tips to improve your mind and mood

The following tips for activities to add to your daily routine to improve your mind and mood come from onegreenplanet.org.

1. Eat for your hormone health. Some common foods to avoid: dairy, gluten, processed foods and sugar.

2. Do something you love every day, like writing in a journal or practicing a favorite hobby.

3. Eat magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, bananas and avocado.

4. Eat healthy fats to promote a healthy mood as well as heart health and to reduce cholesterol.

5. Ditch the negative self-talk.

6. Eat your B vitamins like B3, B5, B6, B7 and B12.

7. Eat more plant-based foods, which have been shown to relieve depression and anxiety and promote mental clarity.

— Brandpoint