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)

Effects of dance on well-being in older persons

Effects of dance on physical and psychological well-being in older persons. Elsie Hui , Bo Tsan-keung Chui, Jean Woo, 2009, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Volume 49, Issue 1, July–August 2009, Pages e45–e50.

Abstract
“This study was aimed at determining the effects of dancing on the health status of older persons. A pool of 111 community-dwelling subjects were allocated to either an intervention group (IG), which included 23 sessions of dance over 12 weeks, or a control group (CG). All participants were assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. Physical outcome measures included the 6-min timed walking test (6MWT), trunk flexibility, body composition, lower limb endurance and strength, balance, the timed up-and-go test (TUG), resting heart rate and blood pressure. Quality of life was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF-36) questionnaire. The IG’s views toward dancing were also evaluated at 12 weeks. Significant difference was observed between the groups in six outcome measures: mean change in resting heart rate, 6MWT, TUG, lower limb endurance and the ‘general health’ and ‘bodily pain’ domains of SF-36. The majority of the dance group felt the intervention improved their health status. These findings demonstrate that dancing has physical and psychological benefits, and should be promoted as a form of leisure activity for senior citizens.”