According to a research study undertaken earlier this year, regularly taking to the dance floor gives the elderly a better sense of balance and reduces falls.
Researchers found a fifty percent improvement in balance and far fewer falls among seniors who participated in a half hour of ballroom dancing three days a week for three months.
The research team recruited residents at three nursing homes in their state. A total of 59 participants completed the study, 30 of whom were assigned to a group that met for dancing sessions three times a week. The other 29 served as a comparison group and agreed not to engage in exercise of any kind during the study. All of the participants were sedentary for at least three months before the study, and all were in their 60s and 70s.
For the next 12 weeks, the dancing group met for 50-minute sessions on alternating days, three times a week. After a 10-minute warm up with stretching, they danced the foxtrot, waltz, rumba, swing, samba or bolero. Each session ended with a 10-minute relaxation period.
Members of each group had averaged five falls in the three months preceding the study. During the 12-week study period, those in the sedentary group had about the same rate of falls but there was just one fall among participants in the dancing group.
Regular doses of dancing will increase lower extremity strength and lower your risk of falling. Even if you haven’t danced before, it’s a very safe way to keep yourself healthy as well as having social benefits.