There are many things seniors are asked to do to live long and healthy lives that aren’t too pleasant. Avoiding calories and cholesterol, as well as getting regular physicals, flu shots and cancer screenings come to mind. But what happens when you tell the generation that grew up doing the Jitterbug, the Lindy and the Mambo that boogieing to a beat has exceptional health benefits too? Well, chances are, they’ll beat a path to your dance floor.
From early childhood, our bodies have an instinctive response to rhythm and music, which can lead to quite energetic dancing as we get older. While seniors might not be able to jump, jive and wail as vigorously as they once did, they never lose their sense of rhythm. And when they apply it on the dance floor, there are numerous benefits, including:
Many Sunshine Retirement communities already have organized dance classes and sessions on a regular basis. Here are a few examples:
According to Activity Director Stacy Harrison, The Landing at Behrman Place in New Orleans offers a Movin' and Groovin’ dance class led by an instructor from JenCare Senior Medical Center. About 20 residents, including three or four men, get together in their special JenCare t-shirts and have a great time doing a series of chair dance exercises.
Garden Way in Eugene, Oregon recently started having a 45-minute Line Dancing class with Country music every Friday. It has been extremely popular with the ladies there, especially Bobbi Altimiller.
"Oh, I love it!” she says. “It’s a wonderful exercise class with fun music and a great instructor, who teaches us new moves every week. It’s the best thing we can do for ourselves!”
“Sooner or later, the men here are going to realize that and join in,” adds Garden Way Activity Director, Brenda Olivarez.
Fountain Crest in Lehigh Acres, Florida and The Gardens in Pharr, Texas have both found their weekly Zumba classes to be extremely popular. Zumba is an exercise fitness program that involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music. The choreography incorporates Hip-Hop, Soca, Samba, Salsa, Merengue and Mambo, as well as some squats and lunges for good measure.
“Zumba is like karaoke for our residents,” says The Gardens Activity Director, Raquel Arauza.
“It’s especially valuable for our Memory Care residents. One of them even asked if we could play the Zumba music in the dining room.”
So whether you’re a fan of the Charleston, the Polka, the Macarena or simply dancing cheek to cheek, consider this your open invitation to get out on the dance floor and “bust a move.” We guarantee you’ll feel better for it.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living