Dance Your Way to Better Health During Retirement
Just the idea of exercising can leave many people grumbling. Walking on a treadmill or pedaling away on a recumbent bike might be great for your heart and overall well-being, but both can also be a little boring. That makes it tough to stay motivated to continue.
One type of exercise that is more engaging while also offering a variety of mental and physical health benefits is dancing. Some researchers now refer to dancing as “dance therapy” because of the wide variety of health benefits it provides to seniors.
Dance Therapy Research
St. Louis University conducted a 12-week study evaluating the effectiveness of dance therapy in helping older adults reduce hip and knee pain. Their treatment plan, known as Healthy-Steps, incorporates low-impact dance moves that can be completed from a sitting or standing position.
Half of the study’s participants joined a 45-minute dance therapy session once or twice each week. At the end of the study, 39 percent of those who danced required less pain medication, compared to 21 percent of those who didn’t.
In addition to pain management, dancing also has other benefits:
- Wards off depression
- Increases strength and balance
- Defends against dementia
- Improves mobility
- Promotes heart health
In honor of International Dance Day on April 29, we have a few ideas to help you get moving.
Find a Senior Dance Class Near You
The good news is you don’t have to have any special skills or equipment to start dancing. While it might seem like dance studios cater primarily to children and teens, many also host classes for older adults. Line dancing, salsa, ballroom dancing, and tap dancing are a few classes you might enjoy at a local dance studio.
Where else can you find a senior-friendly dance class?
Here are a few options to investigate:
- Local senior center
- YMCA or other area fitness club
- Outpatient therapy center
- Senior living community
If you are more comfortable getting started in the privacy of your own home, you can invest in a few dance DVDs. Once you gain confidence, you might be ready to join a dance class or dance group. It’s a great way to socialize while staying fit.
If you or an older loved one enjoy dancing but has difficulty with balance or mobility, a seated dance class might be a better option. YouTube has seated dance class videos that are a lively but safe way to enjoy dancing during retirement.
Sunrise communities offer a rich variety of physical activities to promote resident fitness. View our sample activity calendar to see some of the opportunities for exercise we offer each day, from morning stretch sessions to bowling, walking groups, and more.