Sunshine Residents Cut a Rug to Better Health and Greater Happiness

Sunshine Residents Cut a Rug to Better Health and Greater Happiness

Sunshine residents cut a rug

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:

  • Dancing is good for the heart, like other aerobic exercises. Even slow dances, like the waltz, can be safe and beneficial for those with mild to moderate heart failure. But all seniors should be sure to check with their doctor first before tripping the light fantastic.
  • Dancing can help to improve balance. This can be especially helpful for seniors who have previously fallen. If you are afraid to dance alone, have a partner dance with you until you regain your confidence.
  • Dancing can reduce stiffness and improve muscle strength. The more you move, the more your body will be equipped to keep moving. Over the course of a few weeks, you may be able to walk faster, reduce your amount of pain medications, and gain more independence.
  • Dancing gives your brain a workout. Much like reading, playing board games and musical instruments, the intricate steps and/or improvisation associated with dancing have been proven to reduce the risk of dementia among subjects over the age of 75.
  • Dancing is good for mental and emotional health. Whether you’re facing boredom, loneliness or depression, dancing can help improve your moods. Listening and moving to the music combine to have a therapeutic effect.
  • Dancing offers maximum rewards with minimal risk. It can also be therapeutic for Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, even heart disease. Again, always be sure and check with a doctor before embarking on a rigorous dancing regime, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.
  • Dancing is just plain fun. There’s nothing like interacting with a partner or a friend on the dance floor, whether you’re pulling off an intricate maneuver or simply waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care.

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

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