Regular dance sessions can help people over 85 years by enhancing their physical activity and social interactions, as well as reconnecting them with their younger selves, according to new research led by the University of Leeds.
Researchers from the University’s School of Biomedical Sciences, along with One Dance UK, Yorkshire Dance and darts, Doncaster’s participatory arts charity ran a “Dance On” project and found that people over 85 years can benefit from regular dance classes as it can help improve their wellbeing and mobility, according to the press statement by the University of Leeds.
The study involved 685 people over the age of 55 who participated in weekly dance classes for 12 months. With an average age of 75, more than a third of the participants were from underprivileged communities, according to the statement. The research was published in BMC Geriatrics.
Talking about the study, Dr Sarah Astill, Associate Professor in Motor Control at Leeds’ School of Biomedical Sciences led the University research team said in the statement that physical inactivity is recognised as a main risk factor for non-infectious diseases and mortality. However, over time there has been a decline in physical activity among older adults, and this is apparent in people over 75 years of age. Hence, it is important to engage adults in physical activity to support healthy ageing.
“We show that dance delivered across a range of socially and economically diverse communities is a feasible way to get older adults physically active. This is evident even for the ‘oldest old’ at 85+ years,” she added.
The participants said that their well-being had improved after 12 months of dance classes and they felt stronger. In the statement, one participant in Doncaster said. “After a Dance On session, I feel exhausted but brilliant! I’m a lot better now than I’ve ever been.”
Another participant said the classes changed their lifestyle because after retiring, they struggled with the feeling of their health deteriorating. They added, “It’s certainly improved my lifestyle and I feel years younger in just the fact of the few months that I’ve been coming. I feel a lot better.”