Stay Young. Go Dancing!

May 18th, 2014 | By Marjie No Comments


It isn’t often that I get to use Death Cab For Cutie lyrics when I’m writing about health and wellness, and these words were perfect for this article! Dancing as “winter’s advancing” is a great way to stay in shape, make friends, socialize, and enjoy life!

We’ve all heard that should do some kind of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, particularly those of us over the age of 50. And dancing is a terrific aerobic workout! It doesn’t matter if you have two left feet, or if you have mobility challenges, or whether or not you have a partner. Dancing can happen, literally, anytime and anywhere! My neighbors will tell you that it’s not unusual for me to be doing a little two-step while I’m in my garden, or while I’m washing dishes, or even while I’m walking out to the mailbox. Music inspires me, and my feet just take off (and the rest of me along with them).

How does dancing help seniors?

  • Burns calories
  • Works the heart muscle
  • Is appropriate and accessible for all ages and fitness levels
  • Requires constant movement (at your own pace), which elevates the heart rate to pump oxygen faster through your blood
  • Improves energy levels
  • Reduces risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Improves your overall mood
  • Improves your memory

What kind of dancing should you do?

Whatever you like! Dance programs are available at many community or senior centers, churches, and schools. Classes such as low-impact aerobics, salsa, jazz, tap, ballroom, and chair aerobics are some of the options. You can probably watch or even take one class for free, which will give you a chance to decide which one is best for you. It doesn’t matter if you take a class or just pop a DVD in the player and scoot around the living room. Whatever you enjoy, wherever you’re comfortable … that’s where you can (and should) dance!

Can dance be a ‘therapy’?

Dance therapy can actually improve your balance and lower your risk of falling. It can help with your lateral movement and agility. It can even help improve your overall stamina and walking speed.

Are there any safety concerns for seniors who dance regularly?

As with any exercise, dancing uses muscles and movements that you may not be used to using. To avoid muscle injury or soreness, make sure you warm up and that you work at a level that is comfortable for you. You don’t want to put stress on your back or joints. And the very first thing you should do is consult your health care professional. Be sure you make any necessary modifications to allow for the safest methods of dance for your own body.

Dance is truly for everyone. If you think you have to “know how” to dance, consider this … moving to music is dancing. It doesn’t matter where, or how, or with whom, you choose to dance. Take a class or swing a partner around the living room … whatever you choose, you’ll have fun AND feel the many health benefits!

Stay young! Go dancing!

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