Dance to Improve Your Health and Fitness

by Barry Hill
Dance to Improve Your Health and Fitness

The options for methods to exercise are nearly endless, and yet not all of them are fun. One way that a lot of seniors find enjoyable and effective is dance to improve your health and fitness.

Dance as a method of exercise provides several benefits for seniors. Its aerobic nature of movement gets your heart rate up, which is important regardless of your age. Doctors recommend that seniors do at least 30 minutes of some type of aerobic exercise each day. Dancing is quite aerobic, particularly with more energetic dances such as Salsa, Tango, and especially Swing.

With such consistent movements, your legs, arms and abdominal muscle groups are exercised with a dancing session. Over time, dancing will help improve your stamina for other forms of exercise, including walking and jogging

Not only is dancing a vigorous activity that works muscles and gets your heart pumping; it has tremendous mental health benefits, even to the point of helping prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. With dance, your brain is engaged to remember the steps, maintain good posture, react to a partner, and more. Many mental health benefits have been found when individuals over the age of 50 participate in regular dance classes or dancing activities.

Since dance requires particular movements and posture, it can help to strengthen the muscles that affect your balance – an important physiological aspect for seniors, for whom falling is a concern.

An added benefit of dancing for exercise is that you don’t necessarily need to pay for lessons – there are numerous dance exercise and instructional DVDs so you can dance at home, and all you need is a partner! No matter what, dancing is a social activity as well as a fitness activity, which promotes a culture of inclusion, improves your quality of life, and can help build your sense of community at a critical time in your life.  

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