Try Dancing for Heart Health

 

dance benefitA study conducted by medical researchers in Italy found that people with mild to moderate heart failure who took up waltzing improved their heart health, their breathing and their quality of life significantly more than those who exercised by bicycling or walking on a treadmill.

The dancers reported many benefits of dancing: slightly better results for sleep, mood, and their ability to have sex, pursue hobbies and do housework than the group that followed more traditional cardiac rehab.

Dancing allows you to work at your fitness level, increasing speed and footwork as your strength and stamina improve.

Other benefits of dancing for health include:

  • Using more of your muscle groups for overall toning
  • Improving balance, which can help you avoid falling injuries
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving your social life and making new friends
  • Having fun and feeling young
  • Using oxygen more efficiently
  • Patients stuck to their programs longer

According to Elliott M. Antman, MD, a heart specialist at Harvard Medical School, “Dancing appears to be an attractive and fun way for heart failure patients to get
their exercise,” Antman said. “I highly recommend it.”

Tango Classes Put Parkinson’s Patients a Step Ahead

From a study published in the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy.

Researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis medical school compared the effects of Argentine tango lessons and exercise classes on the functional mobility of 19 Parkinson’s patients. The patients were randomly assigned to do 20 one-hour tango classes or group strength and exercise sessions designed for Parkinson’s patients and the elderly.

All the patients were assessed prior to the start of these activities and after they completed the sessions. The dance classes included stretching, balance exercises, tango-style walking, footwork patterns, experimenting of timing of steps, and dance with and without a partner. By the end of the sessions, both groups showed significant improvements in standard tests designed to measure mobility. People in the tango group showed more improvement in balance than those in the exercise group.

“This type of therapy looks to be superior to what is currently offered,” Researcher Madeline E. Hackney, a pre-doctoral trainee in movement science, said in a prepared statement. “The quality of life improved in these patients because of the social aspect of dancing.” Social Ease, Emotional Lifelines & the ‘Hug Theory’

For many people, there is emptiness, loneliness, something missing in their life. Ballroom & Latin Dance offers something wonderful to fill that void and offers so many great benefits too.

Regular dance classes give people a chance to become much more at ease in a social situation. The dance position used in Ballroom and Latin Dancing is very similar to a hug. It is believed that this is part of the attraction of getting to dance together in a closed hold and that is a very basic human need for connection.

By: Yvonne M. Cimo

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