What comes to mind when you overhear the words ‘ballroom dancing’? Do you think of elegantly dressed, lithe dancers who are all performing carefully choreographed movements to the Viennese Waltz?
While this image does indeed hold true for something like ballroom dancing competitions – as well as movies along the lines of Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance? – this is not all there is when it comes to ballroom dancing. It has some great benefits for older adults.
The Physical Health Benefits Of Ballroom Dancing
Ballroom dancing offers a wide variety of benefits for both your physical and mental health.
In terms of physical health benefits, ballroom dancing can assist with decreasing your blood pressure and cholesterol as well as improving your cardiovascular fitness. In addition, this type of physical activity can help to slow – and, in some cases, even prevent – bone loss that is a by-product of osteoporosis.
As we get older, our metabolic rates slow down and we have an increased tendency to put on weight because we are less active. It is not a great idea (not if you have been doing this in your younger years) to start on an extremely strenuous weight-training or cardiovascular programme. Dancing offers a great way to remain fit and, as a result, help to keep those unwanted kilos off. This has a beneficial effect of helping you avoid type 2 diabetes which is something that may befall you if you are overweight.
Mental Benefits Of Ballroom Dancing
Ballroom dancing can also help to stave off many of the age-related mental challenges that a lot of older adults are prone to. For example, taking part in ballroom dancing can help to improve:
Taking part in ballroom dancing may also prevent the onset of dementia as well as improving a person’s spatial relationships. The latter is a big plus as if an older adult has an increased spatial awareness; they will be less likely to suffer from falls – the consequences of which are very difficult to recover from.
Also, ballroom dancing is an incredibly social activity as you get out and interact with the people in your class. So this is a way for people to expand their social circle even when they have retired and are not coming into contact with new people on a regular basis.
Why Do Older Adults Gravitate Towards Ballroom Dancing?
A lot of older adults often suffer from chronic inflammation which results in joint as well as muscle stiffness. As well, many older adults suffer from knee and hip issues. It has been found that low-impact dancing routines – such as the Waltz – assists with relieving chronic muscle, joint pain and improving flexibility. Quicker dances – such as the Salsa – do not have the same effect.
You do not have to be immaculately made up in a sea of taffeta and sequins to be able to enjoy the entire experience of ballroom dancing! Just grab yourself a partner, pitch up and start having fun.