Benefits of Ballroom Dance For Retired Senior People

1. Use It or Lose It:  Dancing Makes You Smarter

A 21 year study done by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York recently showed that freestyle social dancing regularly is one of the best ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory loss! Compared to other activities like golf, cycling, reading and doing crossword puzzles in this study, dancing came out on top!

Here are some of the results from the study:

  • Bicycling produced no benefit in reducing dementia
  • Swimming produced no benefit
  • Golf…no benefit
  • Reading led to a 35% reduced risk of dementia
  • Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week: 47% reduced risk of dementia
  • Dancing frequently…76%!

The 21-year study of senior citizens, 75 and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dancing has the greatest reduction of risk dementia among any activity studied, cognitive or physical! We’ve known that physical activity increases our neurological pathways and synapses, but researchers are discovering that making split second rapid decisions and movements in freestyle social dancing increases neural network connectivity and overall intelligence.

Many people, especially many men, do not like to learn dancing because dance classes is the most complex, all encompassing of all brain tasks. Many beginners of dancing are overwhelmed by such mental complexity in ballroom dancing toronto and simply give up. However, most people who gave up on learning dancing do not have any physical handicap or disability to prevent them from doing the dancing steps and movements. It is the complexity of the mental aspect of dancing that poses a substantial challenge and obstacle for beginners.

However, looking at such problem from positive viewpoint, dancing is one of the most effective, beneficial and romantic exercise to keep your mind active, sharp and in good working condition. The music does not stop to wait for the dancers to make their decision for the next move. The music just keep going and the dancers of freestyle toronto social dance school must make all those rapid fire split second decisions to guide their dancing movements smoothly and gracefully.


2. Various Methods to Cope with Mental Complexity in Dancing


2.1. Forgetting the Learned Ballroom Dance Steps Quickly

A common problem encountered by many beginners learning ballroom dancing is that they forget quickly the learned dancing steps, body postures and associated body/arm movements . If the students do not put enough mental effort and physical effort to practice what they have learned frequently, almost everybody forget those steps and movements within about 3 days. Those learned steps and movements all evaporate and disappear very quickly from their minds.


3. Some Methods to Memorize Learned Dance Steps

3.1 Use of Camera or Camcorder

To cope with such problems, some of our classmates in dancing class bring cameras or camcorders and supporting tripods to the classroom to record the movie of the dancing lessons toronto so that they can review them from time to time at home on their PCs or TVs. The recorded movie can be played over and over on certain more challenging steps and movements until the student gets it right. Voice instructions of the dance teacher

3.2 Pocket Voice Recorder

Another classmate carries a small voice recorder in his shirt pocket.  He records important information on ballroom dance steps by talking to his pocket recorder while learning in the dance class.

3.2.1 Hand Written Notes plus Computer

The way May Lee and I cope with such problem is to do a lot of mental homework in addition to physical practice. We have 3 hours of dancing class on every Thursday evening. We usually take some quick and cryptic notes during the class. Soon after each toronto dance classes while our memories are still fresh, we work in front of the computer at home to put our class notes and our memories of the dance steps and movements on a Microsoft Word file. We create one file for each type of dance such as Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, Samba, etc. that we are learning. One of the advantages of using such Word file in a computer is that such file can easily be revised and updated as we learn more in the future.

3.2.2 Weekly Practice Session

Some dance studio, devotes every Friday evening to midnight for dance students to practice their learned dances. It plays various kinds of dance music sequentially through out the night so that the students can practice many different kinds of learned dances. The students improve their dancing skills in such practice sessions through: (1) their own practices, (2) help from the on-site instructors, and (3) watching the dancing practice of other more experienced students.

Both Physical and Mental Exercise

What most beginners feel is quite true that the learned ballroom dance steps, body postures and the corresponding body movements will disappear from their minds very quickly if they do not put enough mental effort to work on it. It is up to you to choose your own favored strategy and method to keep what you have leaned so that they will not slip away from you.

Therefore, ballroom dancing is not just physical activities but also substantial mental effort to keep both your mind and body in good shape, especially for retired, senior people.

5. Duration and Amount of Exercise

Although some dances, such as Waltz, Foxtrot, Bolero, Rumba and tango lessons , are slow paced, and very graceful, some other dances, such as Samba, Mambo, Salsa, Swing, Jive, Hustle, Disco, Polka, Merengue, Cha-Cha, Viennese (Fast) Waltz and Quick Step are very fast paced and energetic.

In such dance evenings, we are doing not just dance “steps”, but also extensively to exercise every parts of our physical body, brain and nerve systems. We move a lot, bounce a lot, spin a lot, bend and twist our  body a lot, wave our arms and snap our hands out or up a lot, twist our neck a lot, sweat a lot, and drink a lot of water. The Cuban walk and Cuban motion in several Latin dance also swing our hips a lot.  I have to put thick cushion insoles padding inside my dancing shoes so that the bottom of my feet can take all the pounding in such dancing practice sessions.

The gentleman has to use substantial mental effort to lead the lady well through the long sequence of complicated dance and the lady must also be mentally very alert to follow and to synchronize well with gentleman’s lead.

Slower dances such as Waltz may look slow and easy. But doing International Standard Waltz well at advanced (Gold) level with very smooth wave-like up-and-down motion requires substantial strength and control of muscle in thigh, leg and ankle to be able to keep these slow and graceful movements in good control and well balanced.

New Dimension in Music Enjoyment

In previous years before I learned ballroom dancing toronto, my enjoyment of music was mostly confined to classical music. However, after I learned ballroom dance well, a whole new dimension of music enjoyment opens up for me.

When I hear the romantic dancing music, practically every cell in my body is resonating and dancing with the music. It is a very deep and whole body enjoyment of the dancing music. It enhances the quality of life by adding this new dimension of enjoyment.

Synergistic Benefits of Combining Exercise with Nice Music

An article in the Health Section of on March 25, 2004:

indicates that a study in the Ohio State University on 33 men and women shows that doing exercise while listening to nice music pumps up brainpower substantially as compared to doing exercise without music. The test scores of verbal fluency test doubled after the exercisers listen to nice music while doing exercise as compared to the case of doing exercise without the nice music. The combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize cognitive output. The result of this study was published in the Journal Heart & Lung.

Therefore, ballroom dancing is very beneficial to the mental health of senior people through at least 3 mechanisms: (A) substantial mental exercise to keep your mind sharp as described in Sections 1, (B) a nimble body promotes a nimble mind as discovered in several studies, and (C) synergistic benefit of combining exercise with nice music.

8 Exercise and Life Extension

According to the December 2004 Issue of Health After 50 – Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, a large study from Sweden has found that even modest exercise in people aged 65 or older is associated with a longer life. The authors of the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, questioned 3,206 men and women about their activity levels. Over a mean follow-up of 12 years, people who exercised once or twice a week at different intensities had a 42 % lower mortality risk then inactive people.

9. Summaries and Concluding Remark

The benefits of ballroom dancing for retired senior people are:

A. Good physical exercise for longer and healthy life,
B. Good mental exercise to keep your mind sharp,
C. A frequent advice from doctors is:  “Use it or lose it”. Ballroom dancing exercises both your physical and mental facilities very well to keep both of them in good shape.
D. Dancing with your lovely partner together under very romantic music and atmosphere is much more fun, enjoyable and romantic than doing exercise alone,
E. You get more friends and classmates with a common interest on ballroom dancing and exercise.
F. You can participate and actively enjoy more social events with dancing instead of being just like another piece of passive furniture in the party room.
G. Adding a whole new dimension of music enjoyment to enhance your quality of life.
H. Can be done regularly without being interrupted by the bad weather such as rain, cold weather or snow.

If you believe that exercise is good for your physical and mental health, why not enjoy ballroom dancing exercise with your lovely partner under very romantic atmosphere and music so that both can benefit simultaneously?



Dmitry and Kateryna welcome those who love to dance, those who wish to learn and anyone who shares their passion for dancing.
Silhouette Dance Studio is a place for anyone who loves to dance. Dance lessons and private lessons are available for all ages. We also offer competitive & recreational programs.


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