Health Benefits Of Ballroom Dancing

July 16, 2014
Health Benefits Of Ballroom Dancing At Carolina Sportscare
Ali Schoener, Intern (and soon-to-be licensed Physical Therapist) at Carolina Sportscare presented her research into the health benefits of ballroom dancing.  An avid ballroom dancer, Ali was interested in learning how she could integrate her love of dance to benefit her patients.  Ali read the many scientific studies that found health benefits from ballroom dancing and prepared a presentation for her colleagues.  Ali asked Marcia Mitchell of Revolution Ballroom to come to her clinic to teach basic steps to her colleagues following her presentation.
Marcia had a great time teaching Tango & Salsa at Carolina Sportscare, “the staff were great sports and we all had a fun time.  I’ve been dancing for many years, and from personal experience I knew that dancing provides many benefits to my students, but it was fascinating to hear the scientific research to back up these experiences.”

Benefit #1 – Dancing Is Great Exercise!

If you know you should exercise but don’t enjoy going to the gym – try ballroom dancing.  You’ll great your heart rate up, improve your flexibility and coordination, and use muscle you didn’t even know existed.  It’s great exercise that feels like a party!

Dance Calories Per Hour

Benefit #2 – Dancing Keeps Your Brain Fit

“Leisure Activities And The Risk Of Dementia In The Ederly”  New England Journal Of Medicine  By Joe Verghese, M.D., Richard B. Lipton, M.D., Mindy J. Katz, M.P.H., Charles B. Hall, Ph.D., Carol A. Derby, Ph.D., Gail Kuslansky, Ph.D., Anne F. Ambrose, M.D., Martin Sliwinski, Ph.D., and Herman Buschke, M.D.
This article found that dancing frequently reduced the risk of dementia by 76%!  This was more beneficial than doing crossword puzzles (47% reduced risk), reading (35% reduced risk), or playing golf (0% reduced risk).  Dance, and dance often, for best brain health.
New England Journal Of Medicine

Benefit #3 – Dancing Improves Balance & Reduces Fall Risk

“The Effects of Salsa Dance on Balance, Gait, and Fall Risk in a Sedentary Patient With Alzheimer’s Dementia, Multiple Comorbidities, and Recurrent Falls”  Journal of GERIATRIC Physical Therapy
Mauro Abreu , PT, DPT, GCS 1 ; Greg Hartley , PT, DPT, GCS
“Background and Purpose: Recent studies have looked at the effects of dance on functional outcomes for persons with balance, gait, and cognitive impairments. The purpose of this report is to quantify the effects of Salsa dance therapy on function, balance, and fall risk in a sedentary older patient with multiple comorbidities.
Case Description/Intervention: The patient was an 84-year-old woman with functional decline due to Alzheimer’s dementia, late effects of a cerebral hemorrhagic aneurysm with right hemiparesis in the lower extremity, arthritis, and recurrent falls. Intervention consisted largely of Salsa dancing activities for 24 sessions over 12 weeks.
Outcomes: The patient showed improvements in range of motion, strength, balance, functional mobility, gait distance, and speed. During the course of therapy, 1 fall was reported with no significant injuries and 6 months post intervention the patient/caregiver reported no falls.
Discussion: This case describes the clinically meaningful effects of Salsa dance therapy as a primary intervention and its impact on functional recovery in a geriatric patient with multiple impairments.”

Benefit #4 – Dancing Improves Mobility For Parkinson’s Patients

“The Neuroscience Of Dance” By Steven Brown and Lawrence M. Parsons Scientific American
“TANTALIZING TANGO FINDING:  In a study published in December 2007, Gammon M. Earhart and Madeleine E. Hackney of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that tango dancing improved mobility in patients with Parkinson’s disease.  The condition stems from a loss of neurons in the basal ganglia, a problem that interrupts messages meant for the motor cortex. As a result, patients experience tremors, rigidity and difficulty initiating movements they have planned.
The researchers found that after 20 tango classes, study subjects “froze” less often. Compared with subjects who attended an exercise class instead, the tango dancers also had better balance and higher scores on the Get Up and Go test, which identifies those at risk for falling.”

Benefit #5 – Dancing Reduces Stress & Lifts Your Spirits

“Mind Your Body: Dance Yourself Happy” By Lane Anderson

“In a study at the University of Derby, depressed patients given salsa dancing lessons improved their moods significantly by the end of the nine-week, hip-swiveling therapy. Researchers cite the endorphin boost of exercise, plus the social interaction and concentration that dancing requires, and the increased self-confidence from learning a new skill.
In a German study of music and partner dancing, 22 tango dancers had lower levels of stress hormones and higher levels of testosterone after dancing with partners, and they felt sexier and more relaxed. In a study done at the University of New England, participants who spent six weeks learning tango’s fancy footwork recorded significantly lower levels of depression than a control group who took no classes, and results similar to those of a third group who took meditation lessons. Study author Rosa Pinniger credits the extreme focus—or “mindfulness”—of dance, which interrupts negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and depression.”

Psychology Today

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