Keep dancing...

Topic Selected: Fitness

General Article icon Type: General Article

Introduction

The older population in many parts of the world is growing rapidly and, at the same time, it is becoming more diverse. Recent projections suggest that, in England and Wales alone, by 2026 there will be over ten million people aged 65 and over, of whom 1.3 million will be from black and minority ethnic groups. As people age they tend to adopt an increasingly sedentary lifestyle but there is widespread and compelling evidence that increased levels of physical activity will improve both the longevity and the health of older people.1 This report reviews the international evidence for the health benefits of dancing for older people.

Exercise programmes for older people commonly experience high drop-out rates. Dance, on the other hand, is an enjoyable and sociable form of exercise where participants report very high levels of motivation.2

Dance is also increasingly catching the public imagination. In 2010 over ten million viewers tuned in to watch ep

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