So what are the benefits of Dance for older adults?

Dance is not only great exercise for our body and brain. Dance can also bring emotional and social benefits which together can benefit our daily activity and positively impact our quality of life.

A growing body of research is demonstrating that dancing provides physical, cognitive, emotional and social benefits for a range of older people – older people in general, people with conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia and other neurological conditions; and people with various ageing issues.

 Dance may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is possible for everyone, so why not give it a try, you might just enjoy yourself!

Physical benefits – Dance can:

  • develop muscular strength and stamina
  • increase joint mobility and muscle flexibility to give a greater range and reach of movement
  • improve posture and postural stability, balance, gait, tremor (for people with Parkinson’s)
  • improve mobility and fluency and coordination of movement
  • allow different movement energies and patterns to be explored

Cognitive benefits – Dance can:

  • stimulate and exercise the brain increasing mind-body awareness
    • assist memory retention by practising dance sequences
    • challenge the brain in coordinating the body’s movement in time to music with particular rhythm and movement quality
  • ignite imagination and creativity
  • improve left and right coordination
  • improve dual-tasking

Emotional benefits – Dance elicits feelings of emotional wellbeing – people who dance:

  • are happier
  • have a more positive, optimistic outlook
  • gain a sense of dignity and empowerment
  • improve their confidence
  • become more motivated

Dance also enables

  • appreciation and enjoyment of a diversity of dance and music genres, styles and flavours
  • opportunities to nurture and develop imagination and creativity through movement and artistic expression

Social benefits – Dance:

  • encourages and provides a means for positive social interaction and inclusion
  • provides a social event that is about fun, artistic expression, and possibility
  • develops and sustains community and a positive means of group exercise
    • when dancing as a group provides sense of community connection
  • helps develop new relationships, and deepen existing relationships

Research References