If the above video doesn’t make you want to get out of your seat and get down on the dance floor, here’s some scientific proof behind the benefits of boogying:
- Dance away depression: A group of Australian researchers found that men and women with mood disorders who participated in a two-week tango class program experienced significant reductions in their stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
- Salsaing for strength: A few weeks of salsa dance classes can seriously increase an older adult’s strength and balance, says a study published in the journal Gerontology. “Salsa proved to be a safe and feasible exercise program for older adults,” say study authors. They also noted the high adherence rate of the program—over 92 percent of the seniors who started ended up completing the eight-week salsa dancing regimen.
- Soft shoeing to alleviate stiffness: Dancing may be able to replace certain pain medications for older adults with knee and hip pain, according to the findings of a recent Saint Louis University (SLU) study. After engaging in a 12-week, low-impact dance program, study participants with an average age of 80 years old were able to decrease the amount of pain medication they were taking by 39 percent. They were also able to walk faster—a key determinant in remaining independent. “Walking just a little more rapidly can make enough of a difference for a person to get across the street more quickly or get to the bathroom faster,” says study author Jean Krampe, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at SLU in a press release.
- Waltzing for your heart: People with stable chronic heart failure may derive the same aerobic health advantages from learning how to waltz as they would from more traditional forms of cardiovascular exercise, says a study published in the journal Circulation.
- Defend against dementia with disco: When compared with other leisure activities (e.g. playing golf, doing crosswords, reading, cycling, etc.) dancing appears to offer the best chance of helping stave off dementia. According to a 21-year study led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, aging adults who danced regularly had a 76 percent reduced risk for developing dementia. Experts theorize that dancing is so beneficial for our brains because it demands split-second decision making that taxes our neural network, forcing it to create new pathways.
- You can-can do it, in spite of health issues: Parkinson’s disease, dementia, cancer, arthritis, asthma, heart disease…what do all of these conditions have in common? They don’t prohibit you from dancing (Unless you speak with a doctor and he or she cautions against it.) Research studies demonstrating the advantages of dance have been conducted on groups of people with each of these ailments.
So consider this article as your official permission to get out there and dance like no one’s watching!
Image credit: Perspective via Flickr
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