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It’s not always easy motivating yourself for exercise. Maybe you should think about adding a little music and get your feet moving!
There are many, many good reasons to take up dance as a way of getting more exercise. In fact, the benefits are not only physical. According to one researcher, dance helps maintain a connection to everyday life because it encourages fun and enjoyment by getting people out of their houses and interacting with their communities.1 The cool thing is that the physical benefits of dance are just as good as the social and emotional ones.
You can find all kinds of dance groups at gyms, community centers, churches and even local parks. From square dancing to a lively fiddle, banjo and guitar band to soulful Cajun dancing there are dance styles from every culture, at every speed and at every level of physical ability.
Research has clearly shown the benefits of dance for older adults with arthritis, osteoporosis and neurological conditions. But you don’t have to be living with a chronic condition to see the benefits of dancing; it helps in other ways as well! You can see overall health wins such as improved cardiovascular function, better balance and even reduced risk of falls for older hoofers.
It may also help with pain management. In a 12-week, low impact dance program, St. Louis University researchers found that older adults, with an average age of 80, were able to decrease the amount of their pain medication by 39 percent. In addition, they also reported being able to move around more easily. Another study suggests that dance may even help put off dementia. A 21-year study led by Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that older adults who danced regularly reduced their risk of dementia by 76 percent.
Of course, thanks to television shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” we’ve all been exposed to genres like Rumba, Hip-hop and Bollywood but the real importance of dancing – no matter what the style – is that it gets you moving.
How do I start?
That’s easy: check out your community newspaper or local websites to find dance groups in your area.
Once you’ve found some classes, start exploring. Depending on your health, you may want to jump right in, or you can visit the class, talk to the instructor and maybe a couple of participants to see if it’s to your liking.
In any case, unless you’re already in great shape, here are a couple of things to keep in mind when starting a dance class:
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