Ready to feel better, enjoy time with friends, and boost your health? Put on your dancing shoes. Dance offers many health benefits, including better balance and coordination and a potential delay of dementia onset. Among the popular styles of dance for seniors are line dancing, ballroom, tap, and even belly dance. Here are some tips for finding a class, learning a new type of dance, and getting started—even if you have mobility issues or have never danced before.
First, the science behind how dance helps you feel better. A 21 year-long study of seniors run by NewYork’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that among the activities studied—including walking, yoga, biking, and frequent social dancing—only dancing offered any protection against dementia. What’s more, dancing reduced the dementia risk of the seniors in the study by 76%. Reading cut their risk by 35%, and frequent crossword puzzles reduced it by 47%. According to an article shared by Stanford University’s dance division, dance may protect the mind by helping it stay alert to new possibilities that require frequent, quick decision-making, such as when you’re following a partner’s lead during a foxtrot.