Age UK is urging older people to take up activities such as dance to improve their health.
Age UK’s Wellbeing in Later Life Index shows that 1 in 10 of the over-65s in the UK are regularly dancing and attending dance classes. The majority are women, many of them divorcees and widows. Dancing is a highly sociable activity and it may well be that for many of these older dancers, the opportunity to meet new friends is a major attraction of getting involved.
By participating in dance classes, these older people are also doing a lot to reduce their risks of falling, since research has found that just an hour of dancing a week lowers the chances of having a fall.
- Falls and fractures among the over-65s account for over 4 million hospital bed days each year in England alone and are a serious threat to older people’s self-confidence and independence.
- About 1 in 10 older people who have fallen are afraid to leave their homes in case they fall again.
Age UK is therefore urging older people to take up activities such as dance to improve their health. Research with older people has found that dance classes are much more popular and engaging than traditional falls prevention programmes, which can seem rather dull.
Dancing and other forms of physical activity also help to keep the brain as well as the body in good working order as we age. In addition to the physical benefits, Age UK’s Wellbeing Index found that participating in ‘creative activities’ of all kinds, including dancing, was the single most effective thing any older person could do to improve their sense of ‘wellbeing’.
Full story at Age UK