Dancing involves moving and balancing techniques that make it a unique and fun exercise for seniors. Dancing can be anything from jumping, jiving, tap, tango, or moving hands, arms, feet, legs, hips and head around in any form. However, new research suggests that dancing also has an impact on our brain health and may fend off cognitive decline for seniors.
A new study from Northwestern Univeristy saw a dramatic improvement in brain structure after a group of seniors participated in weekly choreographed dance routines. The study is now part of a growing realization that dance as a physical activity or exercise may prevent cognitive decline.
As with other forms of exercise, dancing includes aerobic fitness, which is obviously good for the heart and hormones. But it also includes sensor and motor skills as well as cognitive demands as you remember and follow the steps, which stimulates the brain in ways that walking, cycling, and weightlifting don’t do. Dancing also has a lower risk of injury than other more strenuous forms of exercise.
There are other benefits that go along with this according to a recent article.
Five Benefits of Dance for Seniors
Improves Mental Health
Dancing has been argued to reduce mental health disorders such as depression. A group of Australian researchers completed a study on dancing and mental health, and found that men and women with mood disorders, who participated in a two week tango dancing program, felt less depressed, with dancing reducing their stress levels and they experienced less anxiety and insomnia.
It makes sense that if elderly people are kept on their feet dancing it will benefit them in the long run with their movement and balance. Senior dance classes (and dancing in general) offer elderly people physical benefits which include improvement in balance, strength and gait, which will help reduce the risk of falls by improving balance and strength. Dance offers a chance to improve coordination and by moving all the joints, this improves balance and co-ordination in dance routines and in group or partner dancing.
Maintaining Health and Fitness Levels
Dancing is classed as an aerobic activity that burns calories, working the heart muscle and is an appropriate activity for anyone of any age and level of fitness.
Dancing or doing some type of aerobic exercise 5 to 6 days per week can help improve energy levels, reduce risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, strengthening the heart muscle and improving overall mood.
Dancing can give a certain amount of control in life. Choosing the style of dance, whether it’s modern dancing like hip hop or something a little more old school like ball room dancing, the opportunity to stay in control of choices will make them more independent. When dancing we are in control of our body, so movement will feel great on body and mind.
Increasing Independence and Sociability
Joining a senior dance class or dancing as a group seniors may start to discover other types of dancing and may want to try out them. One of the great things about joining senior dance classes for those who live alone is that we meet other like minded people our own age. We may find a dance partner or a group of people they we feel comfortable in dancing with and start to form friendships and this will help them maintain their social life.