Review: Physical benefits of dancing for older adults

Physical Benefits of Dancing for Healthy Older Adults: A Review. 2009. Justin W.L. Keogh, Andrew Kilding, Philippa Pidgeon, Linda Ashley, and Dawn Gillis. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 2009, 17, 1-23.

Abstract: “Dancing is a mode of physical activity that may allow older adults to improve their physical function, health, and well-being. However, no reviews on the physical benefits of dancing for healthy older adults have been published in the scientific literature. Using relevant databases and keywords, 15 training and 3 cross-sectional studies that met the inclusion criteria were reviewed. Grade B–level evidence indicated that older adults can significantly improve their aerobic power, lower body muscle endurance, strength and flexibility, balance, agility, and gait through dancing. Grade C evidence suggested that dancing might improve older adults’ lower body bone-mineral content and muscle power, as well as reduce the prevalence of falls and cardiovascular health risks. Further research is, however, needed to determine the efficacy of different forms of dance, the relative effectiveness of these forms of dance compared with other exercise modes, and how best to engage older adults in dance participation.

“Keywords: dance, exercise, falls, functional ability”

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Physical activity in preventing and managing Alzheimer’s disease

The Role of Physical Activity in the Prevention and Management of Alzheimer’s Disease—Implications for Ontario. Ontario Brain Institute. (2013).

“Approach: To better understand how physical activity can contribute to the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease, 871 research articles were reviewed. After closer inspection and quality scoring, 24 randomized control trials and 21 prospective cohort studies examining physical activity and Alzheimer’s disease were selected for further analysis.

“Results: Within older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, regular physical activity improved quality of life (QOL), activities of daily living (ADL), and decreased the occurrence of depression. In older adults without Alzheimer’s disease, those who were very physically active were almost 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those who were inactive. At the population level, it was observed that more than 1 in 7 cases of Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented if everyone who is currently inactive were to become physically active at a level consistent with current activity recommendations. On this basis, potential cost-savings (~$88 to $970 million CDN per year) in healthcare for community-dwelling older adults with Alzheimer’s disease are substantial.” (page 2)