Generally folks love music. It’s our recreation and enjoyment; we dance or we just listen to music to make routine activities more enjoyable. However, the health advantages that music has for the elderly are amazing.
- The Benefits of Working out to Music
The danger that falls pose to the elderly are enormous; 33 percent of those over 65 trip and fall at least once per year. Studies have shown that when the elderly listen to music while exercising, it helps them with Equilibrium maintenance and there is decline in Fall danger.
Remarkably studies have shown that it is more advantageous for the elderly to work-out to music than without it. One Swedish study compared two groups of senior citizens, one that exercised to piano music and another that exercised with no music. The group that listened to piano music enhanced their balance when walking, and eventually had half the number of falls as the group that did not listen to music while exercising.
- The Advantages of Listening to Music
Studies on music and its relation to the elderly have established significant psychological benefits. Music stimulates positive overall wellbeing. Those that listen to music exhibit :
1. Increased positive feelings.
2. A more contented attitude towards life.
3. Better relaxation.
4. Improved societal interaction.
5. Improved self-image.
6. Invigorated expressiveness and finding of personal individuality.
7. Better tempers.
8. Reduced stress and worry.
9. Enhanced awareness levels.
10. Improved communication in dementia and Alzheimer’spatients.
11. Improved mindfulness.
12. Better nights of sleep.
13. Improved recuperation time.
14. Lessened pain.
15. Enhanced memory and recall.
16. Increased ability to focus.
17. Better movement and coordination.
18. Increased general cognitive capacities.
19. Reduced need for medication.
Dance and music get people together in a fun atmosphere . It is an activity that can be appreciated at any age, and for senior citizens, dancing can be a fun form of workout that strengthens muscles, helps avert falls and increases social interaction. Bupa, a company who manages more than 300 care homes in the UK, summarises the key advantages of dance for seniors:
- 1. Dance helps to improve sense of balance.
This benefit is obvious when matched with non-dancing elderly, the dancers had superior equilibrium and longer steps and paces reflecting a better gait. This is what helps to check falls. Dance is also associated to better “balance assurance,” when seniors are less fearful of falling and more assured in their steadiness and balance.
- 2. Dance improves strength and walk.
One study found that a set of seniors who practised dance twice a week, for ten weeks, in dance class had increased lower body strength and a longer, stronger walking stride compared to a similar group who exercised by walking for the same amount of time. Studies have found that seniors who have previously fallen or who are fearful of falling can achieve confidence and strength via this medium.
- 3. Dance helps develop perceptive facilities.
Seniors who had danced on an even unprofessional level for few years were found to have better “response time, motor performance and perceptive behaviour.” Dance frequently involves remembering sequences and actions . When done over and over, for many years, these movements can become habit and a part of our routine movement, even when we’re not dancing.
- 4. Dancing has social advantages.
Participants in dance programs find it to be a fun experience. Because of this, elderly are less likely to drop out and more likely to earn the benefits of the program than they would with any regular workout program. Dance can also help avert lonesomeness and isolation among elderly.
These benefits of dancing are plain in dance training programs. Seniors begin with learning simple arm and leg movements, and when those are learnt , they move on to more complex leg lifts, side step and classical foot positions. Seniors also learn how to centre their weight and sway from side to side, mirroring the hip movements used when walking. This works for almost anyone, no matter their abilities or disabilities. More active elderly can do more leg lifts and faster movements. Wheelchair bound seniors can move to the music using only their arms. Those who have restricted movement on one side of their body can move with the unaffected side of their body. It is amazing that many men enjoy the music and movement. Dancing seems to carry many seniors back to the time of their youth–a time when they used to dance much more often.
So Seniors, always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise activity. But dance is an easy exercise that can be personalised to anyone’s distinctive abilities. The nice thing about dancing is that it isn’t a game with winners or losers, and each dancer’s nature can shine through the movements. You don’t have to be the next Madhuri or Prabhu Deva–you can just have great fun and delight in the time spent with friends. Most seniors don’t need to leave their local community to find such avenues. Many communities have a variety of dance programs like dandiya, Bollywood style etc available. Find a program in your area–and let’s dance! 😊💃👯💃😄