There are so many benefits to dancing as you age, from social to physical to cognitive. Dancing is not just a social activity but is frequently used by medical professionals as a type of therapy. Dance is used today to treat many different conditions including eating disorders and depression. The benefits aren’t only for younger people, however, but also for Baby Boomers. If you’re over 50, you’ll find that dancing will improve your physical well-being, create strong connections with others and increase your overall happiness.
1. Improved strength, muscle function, and balance
As we age, it’s normal for our bodies to lose their muscle mass and our coordination and balance are often diminished. This increases the risk of falls and injuries in day to day activities. Dancing can help prevent this occurrence. It’s been shown that dancing not only improves strength and muscle functions in adults but also increases their balance and flexibility. In fact, sports blogger at Academized and Dissertation help, Lilian Greene shares that “healthy older adults who took a multi-week dance program were found to have better posture and motor performance. In fact, this was shown across multiple styles of dance, so you’re not stuck doing only one kind.”
2. Increased cardiovascular health.
Dancing has also been proven to improve cardiovascular health in Baby Boomers which in turn decreases the chances of getting heart disease. Dancing will give adults over 50 stronger bones and stimulate the blood flow through the body. More than this, the fact of being physically active will make Baby Boomers more likely to adopt other healthy behaviors, such as staying on top of medication, eating a healthier diet, and taking on more social activities. These factors all serve to make Baby Boomers feel comfortable and aware of their body as they get older.
3. Reduced risk of dementia.
A number of studies have actually shown a link between dancing and a reduced risk of dementia. Harriet Moore, a lifestyle writer at Academy Advisor and Write my paper, explains that “adults over 50 were evaluated to see which activities had an impact on dementia rates, and the conclusion was that in cycling, swimming, and golf, there is no reduced risk of dementia. In reading and doing regular crossword puzzles, the risk of dementia is reduced by 35 to 50%, and in those who danced ballroom frequently, the risk was reduced by 76%!”
There were also studies conducted over a number of sessions at various retirement residences with patients suffering from dementia which found that people who already suffer from dementia have found pleasure in dancing activities.
4. Cognitive benefits.
The cognitive benefits of dancing for Baby Boomers are less obvious than the physical ones, but they are still present. Early research indicates that dancing increases the brain’s activity, forming neural connections and improving the speed of your neural processes and increasing your concentration. It can also reduce feelings of stress and depression and keeps your brain sharp and mental capacity elevated. A dance style like ballroom motivates your rapid decision-making, which is part of your cognitive health. Although the research for this point is not yet conclusive, at a minimum it has not been shown to harm cognitive development and some people have noted that it’s increased so there is nothing to lose by taking it on.
5. Improved social health.
In addition to keeping your body strong as you get older, dancing can also be a great benefit to your social well-being. Women over 60 who were interviewed by researchers agreed that dancing made them more integrated into the community, led them to join charitable groups and activities, and introduced them to other like-minded people. This has been seen in multiple countries and cultures across the world where dancing at any age is very popular. Dancing makes people feel more positive in general and improves the behavior and communication between participants, long after the activity is over. It also gives Baby Boomers a space to express themselves and continue to develop personally, which is just as important at their age as at any other age.
If you’re a Baby Boomer wondering what activity you should pick up in your free time, you should consider dancing. You’ll find that your health, posture, and balance improve, and your social and cognitive well-being will benefit as well.