Dance Your Way to Better Health
Did you know that dance could save your life? It’s true, the health benefits of dancing for seniors range from improving your physical health to creating strong social connections that increase social activity and get them more involved in the community.
Dance isn’t just a social activity. It can help seniors express their emotions, which can be rare for older generations, and work through trauma and stress. Dance is now often being used to treat conditions ranging from eating disorders to depression.
As you grow, your body drops muscle mass, coordination, and judgment, creating you more likely to fall and hurt yourself in the way of everyday activities. Dancing can help prevent this decline.
It’s been found that dancing increases strength and muscle function in older adults, as well as enhancing balance and flexibility, leading to better stability and fewer injuries. Dancing can also develop your cardiovascular health, which will lower your chances of acquiring heart disease.
The impact on your fitness doesn’t stop with the dancing itself. Once you become physically active, analysis has shown that you are more likely to engage in other healthful behaviors. This could include keeping up with medication, engaging in social activities, and eating a nutritious diet, all of which will improve your quality of life and health as you age.
Social and Emotional Benefits
Keeping you physically strong isn’t the only benefit dancing provides. It can also improve your social and emotional health. The majority of senior agree that dancing helped them become more involved in their communities, encouraged them to participate in charitable and group activities, and provided a space for self-expression and personal development.
Even among seniors with poor mental health, dancing can make a difference. Social dancing, studies have found, improves positive feelings, behaviour, and communication among patients with dementia.
Maintaining strong cognitive health is key for seniors. A study indicated that contemporary dance improved concentration and the ability to control shifts in attention for most seniors. Researchers hypothesized this was because contemporary dance, in particular, emphasizes improvisation, rather than memorizing a specific set of movements.
Participating in dance improves the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s, particularly those in nursing homes or senior living communities.
Researchers specifically looked at the effects of learning the steps of country dance and found this can stimulate a key area of the brain and slow down natural brain ageing.
Both investigations also restated the positive effects that stem from dance as a social activity, a known brain booster.
While it’s simple to turn on your chosen tunes and dance around the house, think to join a dance studio and taking lessons. With all the styles available, from contemporary to jazz-funk, Hip-hop, urban, variety will be built in.
If you’re thinking about maybe trying dancing, DO IT! It’s great for your physical, mental, and cognitive health, plus you may just love it. On top of all of those benefits, you might even meet a new friend or two in the process.