Movement to Music with older adults to slow down Ageing and to ward off Dementia



Dancing is an excellent way to support brain health, along with physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Research over the past decade has found that the combination of cognitive stimulation, social engagement and physical activity is ideal for reducing the risk of Dementia.

Movement is key for healthy aging, maintaining mobility and quality of life, and music is a wonderful medium for connecting and uplifting. Move to Music sessions focus on fun, well-being & building a sense of community.


The dance activities and music could vary each time, to keep it engaging. These sessions can include a gentle warm-up, a simplified social dance step, a sing-along from the 1940s, 50s or 60s, and movement activities that can all be done seated. The instructor can integrate elements from ballroom and various western or indian or free dance styles (e.g. Waltz, Jive, Flamenco, Cha Cha, Tap), as well as dance improvisation and dance-movement therapy. The music can include big band, jazz, world music and rhythm & blues as well as Bhangra etc and other genres.
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Various fitness aspects can be woven in to the class: Cardio, Muscular strength, Endurance and Power, Flexibility, Balance, Reaction speed, and Multi-tasking. Participants can dance with smaller or bigger movements, or to simply rest, enjoy the music and dance through their imagination. The most important thing is that participants pay attention to what their body needs and listen to their own limits. Group classes can be done with chairs in a circle; it is a chance to be social, exploring dance and creativity in a supportive setting.
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There should be no “wrong” way to dance, and there should be no routines to remember. No prior dance experience is needed. Move to Music classes can include a mix of guided dance and improvised movement activities. The instructor can provide an example and general structure, encouraging each person to move in the ways that work for their body & mobility.


Research has shown that dancing is one of the very few physical activities that reduce the risk of dementia. Learning new movements, and the creativity involved in making choices about how we want to move, helps to nurture and rewire the brain. Some research has shown that taking exercise classes, walking and swimming do not reduce the risk of dementia, however dancing at least 4 times a week does.

Being active is one of the most important aspects of better health in later years “Dancing, more than any other form of exercise has been found to delay the aging process.” Dance is also a great way to express ourselves freely, and to be social without needing to say anything verbally. As mentioned above, dancing can be a beautiful way to support physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual wellbeing.

 

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