Dance like your health depends upon it because, according to a recent study, it actually may! According to research conducted in a Brazilian nursing home, residents who took part in ballroom dancing classes saw significant improvement in their balance and mobility. This, in turn, translated to a much lower susceptibility to falls and the injuries that they can cause.
You Should Be Dancing
As you age, staying active becomes increasingly important. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of heightened health risks including obesity, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and an overall reduced mobility. At the same time, it can be difficult to find a routine that works within your physical limitations. For many, the Brazilian study says, ballroom dancing offers an excellent outlet for this need.
The study found that seniors who participated in at least 30 minutes of dancing with instructor supervision three times a week for three months were 50% less likely than their sedentary counterparts to experience a fall or fall-related injury. An article in Best of Homecare confirms the study’s findings, noting that dancing helps to improve the strength of your lower extremities, the steadiness of your gait and your general sense of balance.
Stay on Your Feet
These findings are important given the risks associated with falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every three older adults will fall over the course of the year. As a result, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors. In particular, falls are the top cause of hip injuries for seniors and will lead to roughly 2.3 million nonfatal emergency room visits per year.
This occurs because balance and agility will naturally diminish with aging, but the current research suggests that a regular dancing regimen could help to slow the decline of these abilities. Participation in a ballroom dancing class may be just the thing you need to remain light on your feet.
Of course, there is an obvious benefit to dancing beyond its positive impact on your physical health. Namely, it can be a lot of fun. You might enjoy meeting some new people, hearing some of your favorite songs or simply discovering a low-intensity way of staying in shape. Researchers note that one of the best things about ballroom dancing is that the enjoyment factor makes it easy to stick with. As opposed to a running or strength-training routine, dancing is exercise that feels like recreation.
Dancing may not be the right activity for everybody. For those who already suffer from serious mobility limitations or who are at a heightened vulnerability of injury from excessive exertion, ballroom dancing may be too risky. Consult your physician for alternate ways of remaining active that fit your needs.
However, for those that are healthy enough, dust off your dancing shoes and find a class to join. Research suggests that if you do, you will be a lot less likely to injure yourself by falling and a lot more likely to have a great time!