We all know that some mental and physical decline seems to come part-and-parcel with getting older, but one activity, in particular, seems to hold super-powers when it comes to keeping decline at bay. From boosting vitality and mood to sharpening memory and balance, a good shimmy on the dance floor is what the doctor should be ordering! Get ready to dust off those dancing shoes, because once you’ve read this, you’ll be finding the rhythm in no time!
A Feisty Heel Kick For Heart Health
Heart health is so vital for wellness. It serves as the foundation upon which we can keep our independence and steer our later life as we wish! Dance has phenomenal value as an age-defying activity as those who enjoy this activity experience a boosted emotional and physical wellbeing. Several studies including this one, have demonstrated notable improvement in blood pressure levels and heart function through participating in dance too! This is likely because dancing is a form of aerobic exercise. These types of activity can extend our life expectancy thanks to the way they ask our lungs and heart to work more efficiently. To make matters even more marvellous, dancing is so much fun, it’s easy to forget you’re making any effort at all!
Jive On For A Happy Hippocampus
The Hippocampus is a part of the brain in which processes take place that allows us to do all sorts of important things. From recalling long term memories to spatial awareness, and coordination, a lot goes on in this key brain area. This even includes the chemical signals that make us feel happy, calm, and energised. Frustratingly, the Hippocampus tends to decline as we get older and even more so in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia. The Hippocampus can also atrophy at any stage in life when depression is experienced. Thankfully, this area of the brain has an excellent capacity for recovery!
A study from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases found that dancing actually stimulated more grey matter growth – more than not only being sedentary but also conventional forms of exercise too. A different study revealed that a weekly dance class led to a dramatic reduction in rates of depression amongst older adults living in nursing homes. Some participants who had been on medication for depression were able to stop taking it all together!
A Little Cha-Cha For Improved Agility
It seems pretty obvious that regular dance might be handy for maintaining a healthy body weight. There is, however, so much more than dance has to offer! Getting your groove on can protect from osteoporosis by improving bone density. It can increase flexibility and muscle tone too. Between the boost to our brains and the strengthening of our bodies, dance can aid coordination, spatial awareness and balance. The risk of falling in our later years can be powerfully reduced with a simple samba!
Some Slinky Salsa To Keep You Sharp!
We’ve all heard the term “use it or lose it” before, and in a sense, there’s logic in the phrase. To a varying degree, most of us will increasingly experience forgetfulness and confusion as we age, but dancing can slow this down, or even sharpen us back up a little! Remembering sequences of steps and learning how to move our body in a different way provides fantastic brain training. Not only can it help our minds to function more efficiently, but it can make us nimbler too. Thanks to the motor skills required for dance, our reaction times will improve through training, and our muscles will benefit from some coordinated conditioning!
A Waltz Away From Well-Being
Exercise always provides the fabulous benefit of feel-good endorphins. These brain chemicals are released when we get moving and help us to feel positive and energetic. The music we dance to has also been shown to help alleviate stress. Whether we are learning some new moves, simply letting go and moving to the music or re-visiting dance styles we enjoyed in the past, the mood-boosting power of dance is undeniable. Dancing with a partner can also stimulate the release of oxytocin, which is affectionately known as the cuddle hormone! This friendly helper also increases our sense of well-being, while making us feel connected to others. Taking dance classes, or joining dance sessions at your local day centre, can provide a great way to make new friends, unwind and have fun – all with fantastic health benefits!
Enjoy A Boogie For Superior Strength
If some dance styles make you cringe, don’t be disheartened, because all dance styles can provide a plethora of positive outcomes, enabling you to experience an enhancement of your muscular strength and endurance, whilst you have fun! The choice really is yours when it comes to style, so opt for the one you’ll have the most fun doing. Anticipate improved energy, better posture, and a boost in motivation to take better care of yourself. If you’re grappling with pain, dance still may be worth a go, as Psychology researchers at the University of Oxford revealed that dance leads us to experience less pain, suggesting that the symptoms of physical ailments can be alleviated by a good shimmy. Read more about this study here.
It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor to explore what types of movements may be suitable for you to try, particularly if you suffer from existing health issues.
A Foxtrot Makes It Fun To Be Fit!
Sticking to a conventional exercise routine sometimes calls for more self-motivation than we can muster, which is why something fun like dance can be so valuable as we age. The playful nature of dance, alongside the positive brain chemistry it jump-starts, is certain to leave us feeling vibrant! In the meantime, we can build social bonds, whilst learning new moves and routines. Mastering new levels of coordination keep us engaged, sharp, and reflexive. What more could we wish for from a single activity?
Before getting started, it’s always best to touch base with a trusted physician. The risks associated with dance in later life are very low, but it’s always wise to take precautions when taking on something new. From there, you can choose exactly how vigorous your dance moves become! Dancing is always about freedom and fun and across the UK there are plenty of local classes to explore, many of which are incredibly popular amongst older adults. Discover what’s on in your local area, and perhaps see who else you could try to tempt along with you!