For many people, a night out dancing is the highlight of the week. This is especially true for seniors, who grew up with organized dances and shows centered around music and dancing like American Bandstand. Luckily, dancing isn’t something that needs to be left in the past.

In fact, dancing is an incredible exercise for aging Americans. The benefits are even better for seniors since dancing is considered a low-impact exercise, which is perfect for any senior with aching joints or working their way to fitness. Today, we’ll explore the ways dancing can improve your mind and body.

Cha-Cha for Cardio and Calorie Burning

Anyone who’s danced for more than a minute will be able to tell you about how winded you get. Comparatively, dancing has been found to burn at least as many calories as swimming or a low speed run (if not more), burning roughly 300 calories in a half hour. When you consider that many organized dances can go on for a few hours, the burned calories begin to add up.

Different dances are effective for different fitness levels and allow you to keep the dance interesting.

Dancing is so effective as a workout that some gyms have begun to teach dance exercise classes, while the exercise Zumba is effectively a more workout-focused dance. Different dances can also be effective for different fitness levels and allowing you to change it up to keep the dance interesting or when you need a rest. Swing or break dancing is more intensive than a waltz, for example.

Samba for Strength and Balance

Dancing is also great for strengthening muscles around your body. Now, you won’t look like Charles Atlas from tap dance, but it can turn your calves into iron. All that movement trains those muscles, similar to an intensive leg workout, but you’re having fun, so you’re less likely to realize you’re working those muscles. At the same time, you’re strengthening your core muscles, one of your most important muscle groups.

All that movement trains those muscles, similar to an intensive leg workout, all while having fun!

Strengthening your leg muscles influences another important factor for millions of seniors — balance. Falls are dangerous and can cause significant injuries. Preventing them is key to maintaining senior independence. Having stronger leg muscles means they’re less likely to give out, and a stronger core or arm muscles can help you stay secure in the event of a slip. In fact, one prominent review concluded that the research pointed to dancing preventing falls in seniors by significantly improving balance.

Monster Mash for Mental Health

Dancing isn’t just good for your body. It’s also been shown to be healthy for the mind, keeping it sharp into old age. This same study found that regular dancing can reduce your risk of dementia by as much as 76 percent. Another study showed that dancing can even improve memory and improve your mood.

Studies found that regular dancing can reduce your risk of dementia, and even improve your memory and mood.

Another clear benefit of dancing is that it’s inherently a social activity. While you can dance with yourself, most choose to do it with a partner or group. This can prevent isolation, which is incredibly detrimental to seniors. Isolation can lead to depression or heightened risks of mental decline or mortality. In light of this, many care facilities or community centers host senior dances.

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Dancing is a fun activity that you can do with friends and loved ones, at home or out on the town. If you want to lose a little weight, get fitter, or keep your mind strong, it’s time to shake a leg and get out on the dance floor!

Further Reading

Better Health Channel — Dance – health benefits