Medical Benefits

Alzheimer’s Disease Study

The strategy, muscle coordination and memory you use to learn and perform dance routines flex your brain as much as your body. Besides improving mental functioning, dancing can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City examined how the tango or foxtrot improved cognitive activity. They tested subjects aged 75 and older over 21 years. Dancing a few times a week helped decrease the likelihood of dementia occurring by 76 percent. A study of elderly participants published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that frequent dancing increased mental acuity. Dancing and listening to music also help your brain process thoughts better.

For anyone reading Jacqueline Marshall’s article in Health Today in Nov. 2017 ‘Dancing and Diabetes’. ‘Ballroom dancing, helps those with diabetes lower their blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and protect their cardiovascular health. Dancing also enhances muscle tone, balance, flexibility, energy, and mood.

National Osteoporosis Society

21 Dec 2017

Whether it’s a fabulous foxtrot, a lively line dance or a tremendous tango, dancing is great for your bones and enormous fun. But dancing is not just about fun – it’s great for the body, mind and bones too!

“The health benefits of dancing are well established,” says Dr Peter Lovatt, a dance psychologist and Reader and Principal Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. “When people engage in different types of social dance, there’s a measurable change in their mood.

“They become less fatigued, less depressed, their levels of vigour go up and there are positive changes in their cognitive processing. Even five minutes of dancing makes people think more sharply and laterally,” he says.

Dance contributes to heart and lung health and is a great workout for toning and strengthening muscles. It also helps to maintain a healthy weight and strengthens the bones.

This is something many people involved in dance and physical exercise do seem to agree on – dancing really is good for your bones.

Back in 2008, the National Osteoporosis Society really caught the dance bug. Dancing is a fantastic way of keeping your bones strong, It’s invigorating, a great weight-bearing exercise and, above all else, is really fun.

Dancing is great for your bones when you’re young, but it’s also a good thing at any stage of our lives, because it strengthens your muscles and even reduces your risk of a breaking a bone.

And the really good news is, there’s some scientific evidence to back all of this up.
Dr Kate Ward, a Senior Research Scientist at MRC Human Nutrition Research in Cambridge. “We do know that certain types of dance are weight bearing and that weight-bearing exercise helps to build and maintain bones and muscles. As well as this, dancing may help maintenance of a healthy weight and balance, which are also important as we get older to prevent falls and fractures.”

Dawn Skelton, a Professor of Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, says the impact on bones through dance is one of its most important benefits.
“Dancing will help improve bone strength,” she says. “Most studies have shown potential effects on the spine but few on the hip.”

Dance does improve balance and many other risk factors for falls, so even if the effect on bone is not strong, if people reduce their chances of falling, they are less likely to fall and fracture.
Dance to Health. Keep fit, enjoy good company, and have fun.
This article was taken from the Osteoporosis News archives, Autumn 2016.

Dance your way to better heart health?

Published: July, 2016
A regular whirl on the dance floor may lower your odds of dying from heart disease, a new study suggests.
The study included 48,000 people in the United Kingdom who answered questions about their dancing and walking habits over the past month. All were 40 years and older with no history of heart disease and agreed to be linked to the National Death Registry.

After an average follow-up of nearly 10 years, researchers found that moderate-intensity dancing was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular death. The American Heart Association recommends dancing as aerobic exercise to reduce the risk of heart disease.

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that dancing is as good for weight loss and increased aerobic power as cycling and jogging. Half an hour of constant dancing can burn an estimated 200 to 400 calories. It also improves your muscle tone, so your shape will get an upgrade too. Celebrate these achievements with a happy dance!

Dancing enhances general and psychological well-being while increasing self-confidence and self-esteem. It helps relieve depression and feelings of isolation by stimulating the production of endorphin hormones that combat stress. According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, dance contributes to the regulation of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that prevent depression.

With so many benefits shouldn’t you be dancing as well?

AND THE BEST NEWS OF ALL  –  IT’S REALLY A LOT OF FUN

“Dance is a joyful, fun and effective way for seniors to stay active and healthy,”
– agrees fitness expert Pamela Peeke, M.D.
​ a spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine.

Dancing through Parkinsons disease

Parkinson’s disease is a cruel neurodegenerative disorder that can affect anybody. It impacts the central nervous system and this in turn affects the motor skills of those with the condition. Movement related issues are the first signs of the onset of the condition: these can include slowness of movement, shaking and having trouble walking. Advanced stage symptoms can include cognitive and behavioural problems, whilst various damaging side-effects such as depression, lack of sleep and emotional issues can ensue. Surprisingly little is known about the causes of Parkinson’s, or why the dopamine-generating cells in the region of the midbrain die off. Although there is, as yet, no known cure for the disease, there are various treatment options available for patients from drugs through to alternative therapies. One of the most fascinating areas of therapy that has emerged in recent years is treating Parkinson’s with dance. Professor of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, Rafi Eldor, suffers from the disease himself and is one of the most passionate advocates for using dance as a form of treatment.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s by doctors a few years ago, Rafi Eldor was informed that he could expect to live for five years before requiring nursing. In his efforts to research an alternative form of treatment and a way to beat the disorder he discovered dance. He began using ballroom dancing as a way of coping with the condition, and which has enabled him to slow down the onset of the condition and continue to live a normal life.

Harnessing the power of mind and body is something that ancient societies would practice in all elements of their lives. Religious dances, fertility dances, war dances and childbirth dances were rituals that were firmly integrated into society in the older days. Dance as therapy is not a new concept these days either: it’s deployed in hospitals and care centers around the world to address a wide variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Dance for Parkinson’s disease is an important new line of treatment because it addresses essential areas like movement, balance, spatial awareness, coordination and rhythm. These are the critical areas that Parkinson’s sufferers want to address, so dance offers a perfect medium through which patients can work on these skills but also enjoy the social element and other pleasures dancing involves.

People with Parkinson’s have motor problems that affect voluntary movements as opposed to instinctive motion. The elements of dancing to music, following a teacher and developing muscle memory with dance sequences helps to treat the disease.