There are many changes, both physical and mental, that come with aging. Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential for navigating these changes, aging gracefully, and maintaining quality of life.
Dance classes are a great way for seniors to stay active, make new friends, and improve their overall health. In this blog post, we’ll outline six benefits of participating in dance classes for those in their golden years.
#1. Cardiovascular Health
Dancing can be a great way to improve your endurance and heart health. The CDC recommends adults 65 years and older participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
For seniors, regular exercise, such as a class, can prevent or delay many age-related issues, including cardiovascular conditions. Aerobic exercise is known to raise your heart and breathing rates, strengthening your cardiovascular system and improving your endurance.
#2. Muscle and Bone Strength
Dance is an effective way to build muscle strength. Movements like squatting, bending, twisting, and jumping help you achieve full-body strength. Additionally, you can increase strength in specific muscles such as your calves, ankles, and core.
Moderate-intensity activities can also help improve your bone density, which is especially important for seniors who have conditions like osteoporosis.
If you don’t quite have the strength to participate fully in a dance class, don’t worry — many dance classes for seniors allow students to sit down while they dance or make other modifications to ensure greater accessibility. Dance is for everyone, regardless of their abilities.
As we age, our flexibility declines. Dance classes often include gentle stretches as part of the warm-up and cool-down to help loosen stiff joints and lengthen tight muscles.
Furthermore, physical activities like dancing improve circulation, which can help you increase your range of motion. This is helpful for daily activities that require flexibility, including bending down to put your shoes on, reaching for items on the top shelf at the grocery store, and picking up things that have fallen to the floor.
Reduced balance can increase fall risk in older adults. To safely participate in daily tasks and activities, both while standing still and moving, a good sense of balance is crucial.
Balance requires coordination between the brain and several different parts of the body. Dancing incorporates both static and dynamic balance challenges to help you develop greater stability, including walking on your toes, standing on one leg, and quickly changing directions. These balance skills translate to daily activities and can help you navigate the world with greater confidence and stability.
#5. Cognitive Function and Mental Health
The benefits of dance classes for seniors extend beyond physical health; dancing is also a great way to enhance mental health and improve cognitive function. In fact, studies show that regular physical activity — including dance classes — reduces the risk of cognitive decline by about half.
Dance classes are an excellent tool to sharpen your memory and improve your pattern recognition skills. Learning dance combinations requires you to utilize your short-term, long-term, and working memory in order to remember the order of the steps.
Additionally, music and rhythms keep your mind sharp and teach you to find patterns. For example, in a tap class, your mind must stay one step ahead of your body and you have to count the beats of the music in order to maintain the correct timing.
Furthermore, participating in dance classes teaches you to work through challenges in order to achieve your goals. Seeing yourself become stronger and reach new heights is a great way to boost your self-esteem and give you a renewed sense of confidence.
#6. Social Opportunities
Dance classes for seniors provide valuable opportunities for socialization. Participating in these activities gives you the chance to make new connections and strengthen relationships with old friends.
For couples, ballroom dance classes are an excellent way to grow closer together and spark romance. Getting out and trying new things together helps keep your relationship fresh and exciting.
Dance performances can be a valuable opportunity to get your family involved and bring your loved ones together. You can create priceless memories and be an example to them of the value of hard work and trying new things.
Dance Classes as Part of an Active Lifestyle
At Leisure Villas, we encourage our residents to participate in a wide variety of hobbies, social events, and physical activities in order to live a well-rounded life in their golden years. If you want to improve both your physical and mental health and have some fun, find a dance class at a local studio, senior center, or community clubhouse.
To learn more about the active lifestyle we promote in our 55+ communities, reach out to us today or take a tour of a Leisure Villas community near you.