Dancing Keeps the Heart Healthier
Statistics show that more than 600,000 people die annually of heart disease. In an effort to change those statistics, cardiologists have begun advising elderly heart patients to enjoy dancing as a fun way to fight this disease. Aerobic exercise has been proven to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis, and for cardiovascular fitness, the American Heart Association recommends 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times per week.
Many seniors find dancing more enjoyable than walking on a treadmill or riding a bike. It is a wonderful way to interact socially while participating in aerobic exercise. Each person is able to dance or exercise at his or her own level of fitness ability.
The Benefits of Dancing
Not only is dancing fun, but it also:
- increases stamina, endurance, and muscle strength.
- improves oxygen consumption in the lungs and circulatory system.
- lowers blood pressure.
- improves the body’s ability to generate energy-increasing metabolism.
- reduces body fat and helps maintain a healthy weight.
- reduces stress, anxiety, tension, and depression.
- improves joint flexibility, coordination, and balance.
- keeps bones strong and improves posture.
- improves social interaction and encourages the making of new friends.
- turns sadness into joy and encourages a youthful, happy feeling.
- improves self esteem, emotional well being, confidence, and quality of life.
- slows the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- helps reconnect friends and loved ones
- helps seniors make new friends.
What Kind of Dancing Is Best?
For a healthy heart, the more active or aerobic dances are the most beneficial. However, the best kind of dance is the kind that makes you happy. So, experiment! Additionally, when you take a class, give it some time, perhaps a month to six weeks, before you decide whether you like it or not. Some forms of dance take time to learn before they can be enjoyed.
You can find classes at the local senior community center, YMCA, health club, dance studio, or dance school. In some areas, dance clubs or groups also offer classes. There are many forms of dancing to choose from:
- Belly dancing
- Swing – traditional or West Coast
- Square dancing
- Folk dancing
- Line dancing – country, rock, pop, or salsa
- Contra – line square dancing
Whatever your choice, start dancing your way to a healthy and happy heart! Let us know what kind of dance you prefer and the benefits you have enjoyed in the comments below.
- Exercise and Memory (sciencebasedmedicine.org)