You can dance in a group, with a partner, or on your own. There are lots of different places where you can enjoy dancing, for example, at dance schools, social venues, community halls and in your own home. Dancing has become such a popular way to be active and keep fit, that most fitness clubs now offer dance classes in their group exercise programs. Here are some research-backed ways dancing can improve your health.

1. Better agility and flexibility

Age, lack of movement — or only performing the same movements — can lead to stiffness and a lack of mobility that primes you for discomfort and injury. But dance can help. One study found that cross-country skiers who received months of dance training showed improvements in joint mobility and muscle flexibility of the spine, as well as their speed and agility. In a similar study, cross-country skiers who received pre-season dance training had improved range of hip motion, enhanced spine flexibility, and a reduced risk of back pain. Despite the focus on cross-country skiing in these studies, you don’t need to hit the slopes to reap the agility and flexibility benefits of getting down to music.

2. Dance Boosts Cardiovascular Health

Like other aerobic exercise, dancing is great for improving cardiovascular function. A study published in 2016 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who engaged in moderate-intensity dancing (defined in the study as enough to make you out of breath or sweaty) were 46 percent less likely to develop heart disease or die from it than nondancers over 10 years of follow-up, according to population-based survey data of adults ages 40 and up. In comparison, moderate-intensity walkers were just 25 percent less likely to suffer heart health issues.

3. Better Brain Health

A study done by The New England Journal of Medicine found that dancing can boost your memory and even prevent the onset of dementia. Other studies have also found that aerobic dance exercises can reverse volume loss in the part of the brain that controls memory (the hippocampus), which tends to shrink during late adulthood. Taking the time to remember steps and the changing movements of a dance is also a great way to challenge your brain, no matter your age. Scientists have found cognitive skills such as planning and organizing also improve with an exercise like dance.

4. Balance and coordination

While you may feel pretty solid on your feet now, there’s no denying the fact that as we age, balance and coordination seriously deteriorate. It’s one of the reasons that older adults are so prone to falls. However, the ability of dancing to improve these markers of health in older folks is promising. One study on people over the age of 80 years found that social dancing helped improve balance and walking speed, as well as contributing to a more stable walking pattern.

5. Dancing Builds Core Strength

Dance requires balance and helps build core strength, which helps promote good posture and prevent muscle injuries and back pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Granger adds that this is particularly true for ballet. “In ballet, you train your body to stand still, often on one leg. This helps you train the deep muscles in your body, which you would not work otherwise,” she says. You are also engaging your abs, “which are an essential part to balancing,” she notes.