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Exercise is extremely important for seniors. The CDC recommends that adults 65 and over get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week . That’s roughly 30 minutes per weekday. This does not have to be formal exercise in a fitness class or on a treadmill. In fact, one of the best ways for seniors to get enough physical activity is dancing.
If you choose the right dances for senior citizens, the benefits go well beyond physical activity. Seniors can improve balance, maintain coordination, stimulate their minds by learning new steps, and socialize with peers.
If your loved one is a senior citizen or if you are one yourself, you will quickly realize that the biggest challenge is finding a place to dance. If you care for a senior citizen, you might wonder, “where can I find dance classes for seniors near me?” We will show you how to get help finding assisted living facilities that offer this activity.
The benefits of dancing for seniors
We have already mentioned dancing as a way to get the necessary amount of movement to remain healthy as a senior. Here is a closer look at the other benefits of dancing for senior citizens. You don’t even have to take our word for it. Many of these benefits are proven by scientific studies.
- Dancing helps the mind. Dancing is more mentally demanding than walking or working out on exercise machines. You have to remember the steps, keep time with the music, coordinate with your partner, and be aware of the others on the dance floor. Studies have shown improvement in focus, attention, thinking, and memory in seniors who dance regularly .
- Dancing fights depression and mental illness. The social aspects of dancing can improve seniors’ psychological outlook by fighting feelings of isolation and giving them an activity to look forward to and feel passionate about .
- Dancing improves balance. Falls can be extremely dangerous for seniors, with complications from a tumble sometimes proving fatal. However, research proves a 31% reduction in falls among seniors who danced regularly .
- Dancing aids weight loss. Seniors who are overweight can lose extra pounds through dancing (combined with a proper diet). This can help with a variety of health issues, including arthritis and other chronic pain, heart and respiratory problems, and the effects of diseases like diabetes . Seniors who have trouble keeping to a formal fitness routine may embrace dancing because they feel it’s more fun than a treadmill, aerobics, or other exercise machines.
Dancing provides other health benefits too. The constant movement helps the circulatory system and improves heart health and overall endurance. Because of the footwork and posture requirements of dancing, seniors actually get a full-body workout that prevents muscle loss and improves posture.
What types of dances should seniors learn?
The benefits are pretty convincing, so you are starting to wonder, “where do I find dance classes for seniors near me?” Before you start your search, you should be sure that you are seeking the right type of dancing activity. Here are the best dances for senior citizens.
Ballroom dancing provides the most benefits related to mental health and cognitive improvement, according to research . The structured nature of social dancing seems to be key. Some seniors were able to engage in dance classes via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic and were still able to get some of the benefits even though they did not have a partner. However, partnered dancing brings all the mental and physical benefits as well as the social advantages that can improve mental health.
Ballroom dancing includes a wide range of styles, including waltz, salsa, jive, tango, rhumba, swing, and foxtrot.
Line dancing and folk dancing, like ballroom dancing, have defined step patterns that bring both physical and mental benefits. In a group setting, these dances provide the same social benefits as partnered dancing, with the added advantage of being easier to fully practice on your own.
Clog or Tap Dancing
Clog or tap dancing is also an option. Some seniors may find these more challenging, but classes can be geared toward those who need to slowly build stamina and balance as they learn the steps. There are plenty of examples of seniors who have become passionate about these forms of dance and even perform in public .
Aerobic dance styles like Zumba or Jazzercise can also bring specific benefits. The advantage of these types of dance is that they are designed to tone muscles and provide specific physical benefits. There are even Zumba Gold classes, which are specifically designed for seniors .
Seniors may or may not find the same level of socialization in these more-fitness-focused styles.
How can I find dance classes for seniors near me?
Finding dance classes for seniors can prove challenging. If your loved one lives independently, you may be able to find specialized classes in a dance studio or fitness center. However, the best time to find these classes is when you select an assisted living facility.
Unfortunately, it can be time-consuming to find a place that hosts regular dances for senior citizens or provides instruction for ballroom, line, or clog dancing. That’s where Northstar Senior Advisors comes into the picture. We can help your loved one find a facility with offerings that meet their needs and interests.
Remember that to get the full benefits of dancing, senior citizens need to do it regularly. An assisted living facility with a once-per-month social dance isn’t going to meet this requirement.
You will need to find a place that offers regular classes, teaches different styles on different days, or has an arrangement with a local school to teach dance specifically for seniors.
If you are looking to find a community where you or your loved one, contact Northstar Senior Advisors. We can help you locate the best facilities for your needs.