GUEST ARTICLE - CHLOE THORNE from Training with Chloe - Exercise Coach @ Silverstream.
'Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance' - Oprah Winfrey
Dancing isn’t just for the young. As we grow older dancing also has many physical, mental, and social benefits. These include:
Strength and balance benefits.
The physical benefits of dancing as we age are significant. Dancing builds strength and balance through multi-directional movements, and time on your feet; Motor skills develop through the repetition of movements with the support of rhythm from the music; And it can even reduce joint pain and stiffness. A small group study conducted at St. Louis University, found that participants in a 12-week dance program were able to reduce their pain medication by 39 percent at the end of the study.
Dancing can most definitely get the blood pumping. It doesn’t matter the pace or style of dance; , the heart gets a workout while you do which in turn reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Stave off dementia.
Did you know that regular dancing can reduce the risk of dementia by 76 percent? A 2003 study found that dancing was twice as effective at reducing the risk of dementia than reading was, and cycling and swimming had no effect at all. Remembering where your arms and legs should be and what move is coming next can seem like an impossible challenge, but it is one the brain loves.
With the improvement of muscular strength, the elderly are able to continue enjoying other activities they love. Walking upstairs, standing from a kneeling position in the garden, kneading dough, are all made more manageable with improved muscular strength. Dance not only quickens participants' steps, but it also lengthens their gait, making it far easier to cross the road and access a bathroom.
Mental health benefits.
According to a Berkeley study, dancing releases 4 four very important chemicals that are good for your brain according to a Berkeley study. Oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine. Oxytocin is the connection hormone that is released when we socially bond with other people, like during a dance class. Serotonin is an important chemical to improve anxiety and depression and is released during exercise. Dopamine is the reward hormone that creates a feeling of pleasure. Music and dancing increase the levels of dopamine in the body. Endorphins are similar to dopamine and are a natural pain killer and are released through exercise.
There are many studies on the benefits of dance for the aging population and these studies have all found there are very few risks to dance. The great thing is you don’t need anything. Just some space and some music. Whether you’re on your feet, in a wheelchair, or holding a walking stick, dancing is possible. So, kick off your shoes and get grooving!
Chloe is our experienced and bubbly Exercise Coach based out of our Silverstream Studio. She runs fun and friendly dance classes for those aged 55+ . Her classes 'Groove It or Loose It' are at the Pinehaven Scout Hall on Thursdays at 1.30pm. Classes are open for members and non-members. $10 per person.
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