Learn to Dance: Reducing Falls, Improving Balance

We’ve already talked about the brain benefits you gain from learning to dance, so now we’re here to share with you a physical benefit of dancing you may not know about!

Dancing has proven to be an amazing way for people to strengthen their muscles and become more aware of how their bodies move. As we age, muscles tend to weaken and sensory mechanisms that help us keep our balance become less sharp. This is often the cause of falls as people age, which then limits a person’s ability to stay physically active.

A recent study by Brazilian researches shows that taking to the dance floor gave elderly nursing home residents a better sense of balance! Researchers found a 50% improvement in balance and far fewer falls among people who participated in a half hour of ballroom dancing three days a week for three months.

To test the effects of this ballroom dancing regimen, the research team recruited residents in their 60s and 70s at three nursing homes. Some participants met three times a week for dancing sessions and the other group served as the comparison, agreeing not to add physical activity to their daily lives.

From interviews about how many times participants had fallen in the three months leading up to the study to special platforms used to test balance, they geared up to see whether or not dancing truly helped strengthen balance. For 12 weeks, the dancing group met for 50-minute sessions on alternating days, three times a week. After a 10-minute warm up with stretching, they danced the foxtrot, waltz, rumba, swing, samba or bolero. Each session ended with a 10-minute relaxation period.

The participants averaged a little over five falls in the three months preceding the study, and during the study, the comparison group (the non-dancers) continued to have the same rate of falling. Amazingly, in the same time, there was just one fall among the dancers, showing that dance can be a great way to improve your balance!

No matter what age you are, it’s never too early (or too late) to take care of yourself and get healthier, and dance is one fun way to start! Whether you and your spouse sign up to take a dance lesson with your parents, you’re looking for a first date idea, or you simply want to protect your mind and body from the effects of aging, we’d love to show you how fun it is to learn to ballroom dance!

So, grab your dancing shoes and let’s get moving! What else do you want to know about learning to dance?