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Why Dance is Possibly the Best Activity for Kids
Dance classes are low in physical activity, study says, but there's more to the story.
When I was growing up, the kids (mostly girls) in my school who studied dance seemed even more athletic than the jocks and the gym class heroes. They were slender, but solid, with long, strong limbs that could contort in ways that defied everything I'd learned about the limitations of the human body. Surely, those abilities were the result of a strict practice regimen that required physical endurance and raw talent.
A new study from UC San Diego paints a different picture. It says that typical dance classes for children and adolescents only involve "moderate-to-vigorous" physical activity for less than one-third of their total duration. The study considered seven different types of dance, including hip-hop, ballet, tap, and jazz. These classes lasted an average of 49 minutes, meaning that students would engage in about 17 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity while in attendance. This figure falls short of the CDC-recommended 30 minutes of exercise that kids should receive outside of school.
"This is a very commonly used opportunity for young people, especially girls, to be physically active and we find that they are inactive most of the time during dance classes," said James Sallis, professor of family medicine and public health. "We see this as a missed opportunity to get kids healthier."
Even though I have about as much aptitude for dance as the computer I'm typing on, I know that merely measuring the amount of physical activity undertaken in classes doesn't tell the whole story. Learning to dance is not like running on a treadmill; it's an artform that requires focus, precise technique, and attention to detail. The study notes that when dance students are not engaged in physical activity, they might be "standing, listening, or stretching." Dance classes require students to learn from a teacher's expertise, and, often, to work in a group. While doing so may not be physical, it certainly benefits a child's communication, cooperation, and ability to follow directions.
Indeed, the study acknowledges the non-physical advantages of studying dance. "Though there are important social, developmental, cultural, and aesthetics benefits of dance that should be maintained and strengthened, it should be possible to increase physical activity," said Sallis.
That may be true, but increasing physical activity could negatively impact other aspects of dance instruction. Dance gets kids moving, but it's also important that they maintain proper choreography and technique. Most dance teachers draw on years of experience in their field, and have a sense of how to balance the artistic and athletic elements of the craft. And while the times recorded in the study left children about 40 percent short of their recommended daily exercise, the research failed to consider the time that students spent practicing outside of the classroom.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.