How Dancing Can Benefit the Elderly



Getting active, staying in shape, and living a healthy life should be at the top of everyone’s priority list — but it’s not always that easy. It’s much easier to stay active when you’re young. Even middle-aged Americans, though they are extremely busy with personal and professional obligations, can find time for the gym each week. When it comes to senior citizens, it’s not that simple. Less than 5% of adults get 30 minutes of physical exercise every day.

Approximately 37% of people over the age of 50 believe they’ll need long-term care in the future, but the reality is that 70% — almost double — actually will need long-term care. At the moment, the U.S. will need about 52,000 more primary care physicians by 2025 to meet nationwide healthcare needs. Staying in shape can help prevent serious health concerns, but it’s much easier said than done. Elderly individuals who require daily assistance can’t exactly stay on a consistent gym schedule. But physical activity is even more crucial for people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. So what can be done?


Dancing is a low-impact aerobic activity that boosts metabolism and burns calories. In fact, in just 30 minutes of dancing, someone can burn between 200 and 400 calories, subsequently leading to a healthier lifestyle. According to SeniorsMatter, dancing can benefit elderly individuals in both physical and mental ways.

In a six-month study following a group of elderly people who took part in one-hour-a-week dance classes, the following positive changes were noted as to how dancing directly benefits senior citizens:

  • Improved overall sense of well-being
  • Sharper mind
  • Better posture
  • More agility
  • Quicker reaction time

Here are some additional main health advantages of dancing — especially for the elderly:

  1. Minimizes symptoms of depression — A group of Australian researchers found that people who suffer from various mood disorders who participated in two-week dance programs felt less depressed and experienced significant reductions in their level of stress, insomnia, and anxiety.
  2. Maintains a healthy and strong heart — Heart issues are no stranger to the elderly and individuals with chronic heart failure may derive the same aerobic health advantages from dancing as they would from other cardiovascular exercises like cycling or walking. A study published in the journal Circulation noted that dancing is advantageous for the elderly because specialized equipment or workout settings aren’t required. Simply get up and get moving!
  3. Enhanced bone health — More than 1.5 billion people across the globe suffer from chronic pain. The constant motion required in dance helps enhance bone health, the decline of which is a common risk of aging. With dancing, the bone cells will be continually turning over, meaning less frailty and fewer bone issues.

You don’t have to hike a mountain or run a mile to live a healthy life. Dancing is easy and can be a lot of fun. Plus, it will surely invigorate your body, mind, and spirit.

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