My parents used to go to Benidorm every year for 8 months. So I would visit them at least once every winter season. My mother loved walking through the surf and most of the time I would accompany her then.
When we walked in the morning everything was quiet, but if we were late and it was already afternoon, we would hear music long before we were on the boulevard.
This music came from several big cafes where they had cleared the centre of tables and chairs to create an empty spot that served as a dance floor.
Every afternoon the places were crowded with elderly people enjoying themselves hugely with foxtrots, waltzes and other ballroom dances.
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When you want to exercise but don’t care about fitness
As we age, our bodies lose strength and become inflexible, unless we keep on exercising. As you might know, I exercise almost daily at home. Strength training, stretching exercises and fitness.
But not everyone likes to do these kinds of exercises. Or has the stamina to maintain a program on their own. Then you could consider a social exercise like ballroom dancing as a great way to spend your retirement years and derive measurable benefits.
However, why is ballroom dancing such a great way to exercise when we are in our senior years? Read on to find out more.
The myriad benefits of ballroom dancing
It’s well known that specific exercise programs like pilates improve balance, core strength, muscle tone, and mobility, but there are other alternatives that provide useful low impact exercise as well as an important social aspect.
Ballroom dancing is great for physical fitness but it is also a complex rhythmic activity and requires coordination to perform.
Studies show that such activity also helps in cognitive functioning as it stimulates areas of the brain that can help to decrease the chance of a fall injury. One of the leading causes of age-related injury to people over the age of 60.
Consider the following benefits of ballroom dancing for you in this context:
- Dancing improves coordination and sensory awareness;
- Balance and coordination improves;
- The range of body movement and mobility improves, leading to less risk of a fall or other related injury.
However, apart from the clear physical, sensory, and motor benefits of Ballroom dancing, there are also social benefits that can have a huge impact on the quality of our life. Ballroom dancing is an activity that is based on social interaction.
For many seniors socially isolation can translate to:
- Loneliness, anxiety and depression;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Increased risk of premature death;
- Lack of exercise.
It is therefore important that we find a shared social activity that provides increased levels of physical fitness and also provides great social interaction. As well as combatting the risk of illnesses like depression, anxiety, and increased blood pressure, consider the additional following benefits of regular social interaction for seniors:
- Because dancing increases cognitive activity, it also reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease;
- Ballroom Dancing can also address osteoporosis and even increase bone density in areas like the hip;
- Engaging both the brain and the body promotes a general feeling of happiness and well-being.
It is important to reach out and socialize even if it is not through a program of ballroom dancing. Maintaining social ties as we age can promote our health and keep us connected to the people we love. Participating in things like volunteer work, community work, club-based interests, and classes all lead to greater levels of socialization.
The Many Benefits Of Exercise
Ballroom dancing is both a social and physical activity. It provides an alternative to exercise programs like fitness for older people. Consider the following list of potential benefits when both the physical and social aspects are combined if you’re still unconvinced of the many benefits of a ballroom dancing program:
- Regular exercise improves mood due to the release of endorphins and other mood related chemicals in our bodies. Exercising in a social setting with others provides connection and increases engagement, thus minimizing feelings of loneliness.
- Senior practitioners of ballroom dancing are getting fit and healthy, improving their coordination, mobility, core strength, and circulation without even realizing it. And for many, it’s more enjoyable than simply going for a walk!
- Exercise has direct cognitive benefits, and improves the brain’s capacity to function well.
- Pilates certainly helps in rehabilitation, but a social activity like ballroom dancing can minimize the healing and recovery process.
Ballroom dancing – a great alternative
Whilst regular exercise programs are of great benefit to us, exercises like ballroom dancing that also contain social aspects provide a great alternative for the older person who enjoys something where they can also form connections and catch up on the latest news!
Do you like ballroom dancing? Tell us in the comment box below.