Submitted by Beth Breen
An exciting new dance-based exercise program for seniors is coming to Tobermory this winter. Sharing Dance Seniors has been developed by the National Ballet School and Baycrest Health Sciences (affiliated with University of Toronto). The program grew out of their Sharing Dance programs held in Toronto and is now being delivered to remote sites via video.
Sharing Dance Seniors is a fun, accessible dance program developed to engage older adults in meaningful dance activity that benefits physical, cognitive, and overall health.
The classes are one hour in length and designed to meet physical and cognitive challenges. The first portion of the classes is performed seated in chairs, and the second portion is performed standing. Participants are encouraged to move at their own pace and comfort levels. Seated alternatives to the standing dance moves are demonstrated. Ballet movements are practised, as well as movements from other dance styles such as salsa.
While this is a new program, other dance-based exercise programs have been shown to provide a range of health benefits to seniors. A review of academic studies on seniors’ dance programs found “Older adults can significantly improve their aerobic power, lower body muscle endurance, strength and flexibility, balance, agility, and gait through dancing.” Also, dancers can increase bone-mineral content and muscle power as well as reducing the prevalence of falls and cardiovascular health risks. (1) One study found improvements in blood pressure, sleep quality, anxiety and depression scores, and in quality of life in the dance participants, compared to a control group. (2) Nearly all participants in another study reported great or moderate satisfaction with the dance activity, and researchers reported “interesting psychosocial benefits.” (3)
In Sharing Dance Seniors, emphasis is placed on the enjoyment of moving to beautiful music, performing various steps and styles, and creative expression. This program is also an excellent opportunity for caregivers to join in the dance.
The Meeting Place Tobermory will be hosting the classes from 10:30 to 11:30am on Friday mornings. The first eight week term will begin on Friday, February 15, and the second eight week term will begin Friday, April 26. Chantal Dufour, the Dance Coordinator for The Meeting Place, will serve as the onsite facilitator for the classes.
The classes will be held FREE OF CHARGE to the participants, thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Bruce Anchor Motel and Cruises and The Meeting Place Tobermory.
Men and women, please consider this your special invitation to join Sharing Dance Seniors. To register or to obtain further information, call The Meeting Place Tobermory at 519-596-2313.
References: (1) Koegh et al, “Physical benefits of dancing for healthy older adults: a review”, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 2009. (2) Serrano-Guzman et al, “Effects of a dance therapy programme on quality of life, sleep and blood pressure in middle-aged women: A randomised controlled trial”, Medicina Clinica, 2016. (3) Federici et al, “Does dance-based training improve balance in adult and young old subjects? A pilot randomized controlled trial”, Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 2005