As we advance in age, it is important to maintain a balanced and active life, but it is equally important to acknowledge that the range of activities we can perform diminishes.
That is why performing some physical activity is not as important as performing the right type of physical activity, taking into consideration the limitations that occur with aging:
One of the major risks regarding the elderly is connected to falling: as we advance in age, while our total body mass does not necessarily grow, our overall fat percentage is on the rise, coupled with reduced muscle mass. This contributes to loss of muscle strength, while endurance and balance are also affected, all these increasing the risk of falling (with potential for serious injury).
With this fear of falling comes a decrease in activity, which leads to further loss of balance, strength, endurance, all completing a downward spiral that could prove very harmful. There is also the aspect of „mental fitness” with cognitive functions needing to be stimulated in order to have a healthy and active life. While exercise has a positive effect on mental state, not every type of physical activity has a direct positive impact on cognitive functions.
Dancing is one of the activities that checks all the boxes:
- It can be adapted to your current fitness level, so that it can be helpful and, most important, risk-free;
- It helps improve overall fitness no matter the current level;
- It improves heart condition, as it is a type of cardiovascular exercise that people preffer, as it does not require specific equipment (as opposed to riding a bicyle, for instance);
- Besides strength, it also improves balance, which significantly reduces the risk of injury sustained from falling;
- It could reduce joint pain and stiffness, resulting in less discomfort in everyday moving around, a massive aspect when it comes to maintaining a functional and independent lifestyle;
- Dancing also improves timing, coordination, and multitasking, which stimulates brain activity, helping in preventing dementia and other degenerative cognitive conditions;
…and while it can be done by yourself, it is always more fun with company, which has its benefits as well:
- It improves communication abilities;
- It makes you feel less lonely, which decreases the risks of depression;
The “WHY” was easy to cover, but the “HOW” does not require a lot more effort: head towards your nearest seniors center and ask if they provide dancing classes; other than that, just get your “dancing shoes” (hint: almost any shoes will do!)