What’s not to like about something that is fun, improves your health, reduces your risks of dementia, and — did we mention? — is FUN?
It’s certainly needed. A study by USC’s School of Gerontology found less than 1/3 of adults from 65-74 were physically active. From 75+, less than 1/6 of us were physically active.
Dance is something we can easily do when stuck at home — because of a pandemic or because of one’s health. And it’s fun — so we’re more likely to keep doing it. And… there are many more benefits.
How good is dance for seniors?
Aging Care says there are five main benefits for seniors to take up dancing — that it helps both physically and mentally. (And check out their video titled “Dancin’ Granny” of a senior doing salsa!)
It doesn’t matter what kind of dancing you do, says YourCareEverywhere.com. Multiple studies show any kind of dancing will improve your muscle strength, balance and endurance.
Joint-pain reduction: A Saint Louis University study showed that 80 year olds who participated in a 12 week dance program were able to reduce joint pain medications by 39%.
Reduced dizziness: SeniorsMatter.com reported a study that shows ballet dancing can reduce your likelihood to experience dizziness.
Reduced chances of dementia: Because dance requires coordination between the brain and the body, an Albert Einstein College of Medicine 21-year study showed seniors who danced regularly had a 76% reduction in the risks of dementia.
Improved bone strength: Dancing puts anywhere from light to heavy pressure on your bones — the intensity of which you control. Bones strengthen by putting pressure on them, so check with your doctor to see the amount of pressure recommended for you to use.
Increase your metabolism: Dancing revs up our metabolism, which helps us lose weight (if we need to) or eat more (yeah!).
How to ease the fun of dancing into your life
For couples: Dancing makes a great “date night” activity. Doing it at home brings additional benefits:
- Less embarrassing if one of you is self conscious about your skills
- Easier to tumble into bed if dancing turns into foreplay
Dancing alone: Solo dancing at home also carries added benefits:
- You can pick the music
- You can pick the dance (anywhere from ballet to salsa)
- You can pick the schedule.
- If you haven’t been able to make yourself stick to a 30 minute exercise period as recommended, see if you can set up 3 minute “Dance Attacks” at specific periods in the day. For example, before you eat lunch — you dance to one song you like. Ditto before dinner. Ditto before you watch X on the TV. Take your regular daily events and stick in a one-song dance right before.
- Something else worth trying — before you go into the kitchen for ANY snack — agree you’ll dance to a full song first.
- I personally always thought dancing to the twist was a hoot, so I bought two twist songs for my iPhone and I dance — and laugh — through two a day. Your 30 minutes of exercise a day does not have to be all at one time. It’s probably healthier if you break it up throughout the day.
- You can test how free you allow yourself to be. If you can’t dance wild and crazy when you’re alone — you’re clipping your own wings. Give yourself permission to fly free. It will feel stupid and impossible at first — but you can eventually expect an awe-inspiring burst of elation and a grin as wide as you’ve ever known.
The title of this article was inspired by one of my favorite “life mottos” which has always inspired me:
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”