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Dance Fitness for Mature Adults: Enhancing Well-being and Overcoming Challenges through the Benefits

Updated: Feb 15

by Emma Mattison – NASM, CPT, CNC, and Functional Aging Specialist


Older adult woman gracefully enjoying the physical and social benefits of ballroom dancing.

As an avid dancer and fitness expert, I'm deeply aware of the distinct hurdles that older adults face when embarking on a dance journey. This article delves into the intriguing realm of hip pathology among ballet dancers and examines the advantages of various dance genres for the mature audience. With this knowledge, you'll be equipped to make well-informed choices about your dance adventure. Moreover, I extend an invitation to enjoy a complimentary Latin dance video tailored for ultra-beginners and to book a 15-minute phone consultation with me, Emma Mattison, if you're 40 or older and in pursuit of a bespoke dance training regimen.

Personal trainer and functional aging specialist, Emma Mattison, guiding a client in dance choreography for fitness and well-being. Discover the joy and health benefits of dance. Book a free phone consult with Emma to enhance your fitness journey.
Emma teaching an online student her original choreography for the Spanish Dance in the Nutcracker Ballet Suite.

Dance, an ageless art, offers joy and a myriad of benefits to individuals across all age groups, including older adults. Recent studies have illuminated the positive effects of dance on both the physical and mental well-being of this demographic. Let's explore the typical challenges encountered by mature dancers and shed light on specific dance forms that contribute to their overall wellness and happiness.


Research Behind Dance Fitness for Mature Adults


1. Research Article:

The Impact of Physical Activities on Cognitive Performance among Healthy Older Individuals

Author(s): Klimova, B., & Dostalova, R.

Publication: Brain Sciences, 2020


The study by Klimova and Dostalova (2020) systematically reviews the effects of physical activities, particularly dancing, on cognitive performance in healthy older adults. It suggests that engaging in physical activities, including aerobic exercises and dancing, positively impacts cognitive functions such as attention and memory. Among the various physical activities, dancing stands out for its significant positive effects on cognitive enhancement due to its multifaceted nature, involving physical fitness, balance, and emotional engagement through music. The review highlights the need for more controlled clinical trials in this area to further understand the relationship between physical activity intensity, type, and cognitive improvements in older adults.


2. Research Article:

Addressing Common Challenges in Older Dancers: A Comprehensive Review

Author(s): Predovan, D., Julien, A., Esmail, A., & Bherer, L.

Publication: Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 2019


The study by Predovan et al. (2019) systematically reviewed the impact of dance on cognition in healthy older adults, evaluating seven studies with 429 participants. The review suggests that dance interventions, varying from 10 weeks to 18 months, may improve or maintain cognitive performance in older adults. It discusses potential mechanisms, such as coordination complexity and social interaction, through which dance might benefit cognition. The review calls for further research to confirm these findings and explore the dose-response relationship between dance and cognitive health improvements.


Mature adults enjoying a fun and energetic dance session. Dance for seniors promotes health, happiness, and social connection. Join us and experience the joy of dancing.

3. Research Article:

Dance Injuries in the Older Dancer: Review of Common Injuries and Prevention

Author(s): Rietveld B.

Publication: Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 2000


The article brings to light the social and psychological advantages of dance for mature adults, with an emphasis on how social, line, and folk dances build community, foster social ties, and combat loneliness or isolation. Furthermore, it details how dance boosts self-esteem, body image, and overall psychological well-being, contributing to a more satisfying and joyful life.


4. Research Article:

Physical Benefits of Dancing for Healthy Older Adults: A Review

Author(s): Keogh, Justin & Kilding, Andrew & Pidgeon, Philippa & Ashley, Linda & Gillis, Dawn

Publication: Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 2009


Mature adults enjoying a fun and energetic dance session. Dance for seniors promotes health, happiness, and social connection. Join us and experience the joy of dancing.

The review by Keogh et al. (2009) comprehensively examines the physical benefits of dance for healthy older adults, assessing both training and cross-sectional studies. It presents evidence (Grade B) that older adults can significantly enhance their aerobic power, lower body muscle endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, agility, and gait through dancing. Additionally, it suggests (Grade C evidence) potential improvements in lower body bone-mineral content and muscle power, alongside reductions in fall prevalence and cardiovascular health risks. This study underscores the need for further research to compare different dance forms and their effectiveness relative to other exercise types, aiming to encourage older adult participation in dance.


5. Research Article:

Understanding Hip Pathology in Ballet Dancers

Author(s): Singh, Y., Pettit, M., El-Hakeem, O., Elwood, R., Norrish, A., Audenaert, E., & Khanduja, V.

Journal: Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 2022


This study specifically focused on understanding hip pathology in ballet dancers. It highlighted the unique challenges and risks faced by ballet dancers, particularly related to hip injuries and conditions. By gaining a deeper understanding of hip pathology, researchers aimed to improve injury prevention strategies and provide appropriate interventions for ballet dancers, such as proper training techniques, conditioning exercises, and rehabilitation protocols. The study emphasized the importance of early detection and management of hip pathology to ensure the longevity and well-being of ballet dancers.


Next Steps: How to Incorporate Dance

Incorporating dance into your life can have transformative effects, regardless of your age or experience level. To help you get started on your dance journey, I invite you to enjoy a free Latin dance video designed specifically for ultra-beginners. Discover easy-to-follow steps and unleash your inner dancer by clicking the video below.



Additionally, if you're 40 or older and looking for a personalized dance training program, I offer a 15-minute phone consultation. During this consultation, we can discuss your goals, aspirations, and any concerns related to dance. Together, we'll create a safe and enjoyable dance program tailored just for you. Book your consultation by clicking the link below.


Conclusion:

Dance stands as a potent and enjoyable pursuit that delivers extensive physical, cognitive, social, and emotional rewards to older adults. Whether your preference lies in ballroom, Latin, contemporary, ballet, jazz, modern, social, line, or folk dance, each style uniquely enriches your health and happiness. Acknowledging and addressing potential challenges for mature dancers, such as reduced flexibility and muscle strength, alongside the risks associated with certain dance forms, is crucial.


By weaving dance into your life, you can enhance cardiovascular health, cognitive abilities, emotional wellness, and social connections while preserving physical functionality. Dance offers a channel for self-expression, fosters a sense of accomplishment, and infuses your life with joy and satisfaction.


No matter your experience level, it's never too late to dive into the dance world and experience its extraordinary benefits. Engage with a professional dance instructor or participate in local classes tailored for older adults. Let the rhythm and movement of dance guide you, transforming your physical and mental well-being.


Remember, age is merely a number when it comes to pursuing your dance passion. So, lace up your dancing shoes, follow the music's lead, and embark on a fulfilling dance adventure.


References About Dance Fitness for Mature Adults:

  • Keogh, Justin & Kilding, Andrew & Pidgeon, Philippa & Ashley, Linda & Gillis, Dawn. (2009). Physical Benefits of Dancing for Healthy Older Adults: A Review. Journal of aging and physical activity. 17. 479-500. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.17.4.479.

  • Klimova, B., & Dostalova, R. (2020). The Impact of Physical Activities on Cognitive Performance among Healthy Older Individuals. Brain sciences, 10(6), 377. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10060377.

  • Predovan, D., Julien, A., Esmail, A., & Bherer, L. (2019). Effects of Dancing on Cognition in Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Journal of cognitive enhancement : towards the integration of theory and practice, 3(2), 161–167. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41465-018-0103-2.

  • Rietveld B. (2000). Dance Injuries in the Older Dancer: Review of Common Injuries and Prevention. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 4(1), 20-22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1089313X0000400104.

  • Singh, Y., Pettit, M., El-Hakeem, O., Elwood, R., Norrish, A., Audenaert, E., & Khanduja, V. (2022). Understanding hip pathology in ballet dancers. Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA, 30(10), 3546–3562. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-022-06928-1.

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