Taking dance classes can boost energy levels, flexibility and happiness in older adults and help them age better, a study has found. Researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia examined the health and wellbeing benefits of dancing.
Over a three-month project, researchers found that participants experienced higher energy levels, greater flexibility, improved posture, and an enhanced sense of achievement.
They also felt happier and enjoyed a sense of community and friendship.
“The project critically investigated older adults’ motivations to participate in ballet, the health and wellbeing outcomes for active older adults, and the examination of the teaching practices involved in this delivery,” said Felicity Mandile from QUT.
“We weren’t surprised by the research findings strongly indicating that ballet participation is considered to be a highly pleasurable activity for active older adults, we were pleasantly surprised by the flow on effects of that,” said Mandile.
“It found that ballet participation may contribute to positive outcomes across various health and wellbeing categories and promotes a general feeling of well-being,” she said.
Performance psychologist and former professional ballet dancer Professor Gene Moyle from QUT said movement, be it dance or other forms of exercise, was a critical factor in better ageing.
“The physical benefits of movement and dance on ageing bodies is well documented and our project really re-enforces these findings, however additionally highlights the joy and benefits social connections in dance can bring to people’s lives,” said Moyle.
“Some of the participants reported that they found the classes positively euphoric and transformational in the pleasure they felt at being part of such weekly social engagement,” she said.