EATON — I am a lover of dance, and I have been dancing since I was a little girl. Rocking out to a 1950s box set in my family’s living room was a common activity of mine. You could also find me in a pair of blue plastic shoes with thick souls dancing outside on a big piece of plywood, pretending I was tap dancing, no music was necessary for this improvisational performance. Truth be told, I really wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer when I grew up. Needless to say that hasn’t quite happened, however, for the last fifteen or so years I have made a point to dance at least one time per week, not only for physical activity, also for expressing myself, plus I enjoy all the good feelings that come with dancing.
Whether it is ballet or ballroom, clogging or jazz, dancing is great to help people of all ages and abilities get and stay in shape. Simply put, dancing just doesn’t feel like exercise. The truth is dance offers a total body workout, using all of the major muscle groups and providing heart-healthy benefits. Along with keeping muscles-toned, dancing burns body fat, increases balance and coordination. Since it is a weight-bearing exercise, dancing also strengthens bones, according to the AARP.
Just as muscles do during weight-bearing exercise, bones also adapt to a weight load and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density. All the while decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
The benefits of dance can extend beyond fitness:
A study in the journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that teaching the cha-cha to a small group of older adults twice a week for six months was enough to improve their memory and cognitive function on a number of tests. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia.
It also has been shown that some people with Alzheimer’s disease are able to recall forgotten memories when they dance to music they used to know. Scientists know that exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow. Dancing that requires you to remember certain steps and sequences boosts brain power by improving memory skills.
The AARP has discovered that participants in dance classes often find that the camaraderie and enjoyment they experience motivate them to continue staying active, thereby improving health longer term.
Physical activity increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, according to the National Institutes of Health, the increased body temperature-generated during moderate exercise can help prevent bacterial growth, therefore boosting immunity.
As in any form of exercise, regular dancing builds stamina and endurance, the ability of muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue. The more vigorous the type of dance, the greater the benefit.
Whether you dance in your living room or with us at Line Dancing, Clogging or the Thursday Night Dance as long as you are dancing, you are winning at life!
Article Reference: Gilliam, M. “Benefits of Dance Extensive.” To stay up to date on all of our activities, trips and senior news sign up to receive our bi-monthly newsletter the “Senior Scene.” Membership at the Senior Center is $10 a year. In addition to other benefits, members automatically receive our bi-monthly “Senior Scene” newsletter which features all our latest news and activities, additional benefits are discounts on trips and select activities. Like our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountycouncilonaging/ or give us a call at 937-456-4947. Visit our fabulous new website at www.PrebleSeniorCenter.org.