It is never too late to lace up the ballroom shoes and get your groove on. Dancing is a healthy and fun activity for seniors that can provide positive social interaction, as well as prove to yourself and others that you haven't lost a step. Besides all the entertainment, dancing has also been proven to be an excellent form of exercise for seniors that is not too strenuous and provides numerous health benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should never give up on the dance floor:
Boost your brain
While dancing keeps you on the move, it is never recognized as being able to enhance your brain in a variety of ways. Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City conducted a 21-year study consisting of peopled aged 75 or older, to see if different types of physical activity had any impact on the brain long-term. The professors discovered that out of dancing, reading, bicycling, swimming and completing crossword puzzles, dancing produced the highest percentage of decreasing dementia in the brain at 76 percent. Crossword puzzles came in at a distant second place with 47 percent.
The combination of physical exertion and strategy tactics involved with dancing is unparalleled with other activities. It is a great demonstration of terrific teamwork, with the brain guiding you which foot goes where while the body follows through with the motion. Intelligence is another factor that is increased through performing dance moves. According to Stanford University, dancing will increase cognitive activity for people of all ages, so there is never a wrong time to get your boogie on.
It is important to think of dancing as a potential form of therapy and not just a recreational hobby. One of the biggest therapeutic values dancing can provide is the ability to regain and improve balance, an under appreciated skill that can decrease the likelihood of an accident or fall that could result in severe consequences.
Researchers at the University of Missouri conducted a study that placed seniors in 18 dance sessions within a two month period to see if the classes affected their balance in any way. Not only did the participants involved wish to continue with their lessons, but it also was proven to improve balance and gait abilities according to self reports.
Jean Krampe, a registered nurse and co-administrator of the study, stressed how dancing can not only lower the chances of a tragic tumble, but also provide pure enjoyment for seniors looking to stay active.
"Creative interventions such as dance-based therapy have the potential to significantly reduce falls in older persons," Krampe said. "We found that many seniors are eager to participate and continue to come back after attending sessions because they really enjoy it. Among seniors that stand up and move during sessions, we found that dance therapy can increase their walking speed and balance, which are two major risk factors for falling."
A peaceful slumber
Researchers are also finding that an evening spent out doing the tango or Foxtrot can help seniors get the good night sleep they need and deserve. A study performed by doctors at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that dancing, combined with other activities such as walking and stretching, is an effective way of improving the quality of sleep achieved in older adults.
The researchers also established that adding a minimal amount of dancing everyday can also provide social engagement, which contributed to positive cognitive performances. According to the researchers, more than half of adults aged 65 or older have some sort of trouble sleeping, either through not getting sufficient hours or waking up frequently throughout the night. So for those having difficulty getting their eight hours, maybe dancing the night away before bed is an logical solution.