With age, our body imposes limitations on our physical activity. In addition, barriers of pre-existing health conditions, safety concerns, environment constraints and more often lead to many older adults living a sedentary lifestyle.
As an alternative to many fitness regimes, dancing is an excellent one. It is such a versatile therapy that not only improves physical fitness but also your social and mental well-being. With every fluid movement, you are developing strength, coordination and balance. In fact, a study showed that long term dancing can produce physical results comparable with those of formal exercise training.
With various forms of dance, you utilise different muscle groups. Thus, with its intervention, older adults strength their bodies, increase their flexibility and build endurance. Not just limiting to the physical aspects, your mind is put to work as well. Learning and recalling choreography challenges your brain to improve your memory skills. Your mind is engaged in an enriched environment of perception, emotion and memory. Studies have shown that dancing improves spatial and recall memory in elderly participants. This change leads to increased functional fitness that allows for day to day activities.
Keeping the health benefits in mind, let’s not forget how entertaining it can be! Your hips would sway to Latin music and your arms would rise to enjoy some Indian Bollywood songs. American square dancing may seem like you are taking a walk but if you are up for a challenge, it can be progressively complex. Dancing shouldn’t be limited to moving to a beat of the music, it can simply be a feeling. It can even be a part of your spiritual release. And once you find a community of people who will dance with you, there really is no going back!
1.Kaltsatou AC, Kouidi El, Anifanti MA, Douka SI, Deligiannis AP. Functional and psychosocial effects of either a traditional dancing or formal exercising training program in patients with chronic heart failure: a comparative randomized controlled study. Clin Rehab. 2014;28(2):128–138
2. Merom, D., Grunseit, A., Eramudugolla, R., Jefferis, B., Mcneill, J., & Anstey, K. J. (2016). Cognitive Benefits of Social Dancing and Walking in Old Age: The Dancing Mind Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 8, 26. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00026
3. Kattenstroth J. C., Kalisch T., Holt S., Tegenthoff M., Dinse H. R. (2013). Six months of dance intervention enhances postural, senorimotor, and cognitive performance in elderly without affecting cardio-respiratory function. Front. Aging Neurosci. 5:5.10.3389/fnagi.2013.00005