The connection between dancing and ageing

Ballet may be associated with the young, but new research has shown it’s beneficial for the ageing as well. A recent study in Australia conducted by Queensland Ballet and The University of Queensland looked at the benefits of ballet, both for health and wellbeing.

Here’s everything you need to know.

The study

Over the course of three months, 10 people were asked to take part in Ballet for Seniors classes in Brisbane, Australia. In order to determine progress during the three-month period, participants took part in focused groups and completed a wellbeing questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study.

The aim of the project was to provide an understanding of the experiences, motivations, health and wellbeing outcomes of the participants. As well as this, it looked to examine the teaching practices of those involved in the project for future reference.

Results

The Queensland Ballet Director of Strategy and Global Engagement Felicity Mandile said there were many positive results from the study.

These included indications that ballet participation is a pleasurable activity for older adults, particularly those who are regularly active. This created common emotional experiences for participants such as enjoyment, feeling a sense of achievement, developing a love for ballet and increased happiness.

Factors to better ageing

Other physical activities, such as walking have already been proven to help as we age. Similarly, this study has reinforced how movement is a critical factor to better ageing.

According to performance psychologist Gene Moyle, the physical benefits of movement to ageing bodies are heavily documented, along with the social connections physical activity leads to via groups and classes.

Health benefits to movement

Movement, such as walking or dancing, can improve your health in many ways.

It can:

  • Lower your risk of chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes
  • Strengthen your muscles
  • Reduce anxiety and/or depression
  • Strengthen your bones and keep joints flexible
  • Improve energy levels
  • Improve your social life

Tips to follow before exercising

Before jumping in and participating in strenuous exercise, it’s important to take a few precautions. These include:

  • Consult with your doctor as to whether a new exercise routine could pose any risks to your health
  • Choose activities that are manageable, and you find enjoyable
  • Start slowly and work towards improvements, don’t start with intense exercise
  • Improve your flexibility with activities including yoga and dancing
  • Invite friends to join you to create a social event (for example, dance classes)
  • Look after your bones – your doctor can advise how to reduce the risk of damage
  • Reduce your risk of falls by including balance into exercise routines
  • Improve lung fitness with exercises which make you breathe harder rather than losing your breath entirely.

 

 

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