There has always been a missing link in the fitness world, options for the active older adult; and while science is allowing us to live longer, it is incumbent upon us to add quality of life to quantity of life through exercise and fitness. It was the consensus that group fitness not only improves physical health but overall wellness that inspired me to choose group fitness as the niche I wanted to fill.
According to the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), the most significant trend in older adult fitness is the concept of exercise as a disease solution. Studies have shown that fitness options in a group setting keep participants commited (in comparison to just going for a walk) and the social interaction increases participation levels and long-term retention.
Baby boomers are fitter and more educated about their own health than ever before. They no longer are guided to therapeutic classes designed for the barely active. They are being drawn to “offbeat” activities such as kettlebells and Zumba® – 2 activities also popular with the younger participant. In an effort to preserve independence and quality of life, baby boomers are taking healthcare into their own hands to avoid reliance on public healthcare.
There are many choices when it comes to group fitness, all of which will give you a great workout in a group environment; but there was only choice that seemed to add that intangible characteristic I was looking for, FUN; and that was dance fitness or aerobic dance.
Harvard Medical School studies have shown that dance involves mental effort and social interaction resulting in a reduced risk of dementia and Latin-style fitness dance improves mood and cognitive skills such as visual recognition and decision making. Practicing mindful movement (such as dance) can compensate for motor deficits common in Parkinson’s and aging.
In short, dance fitness adds quality to life, aids in the prevention/management of chronic disease, reduces the risk of dementia, improves mood, and creates neuropathways to compensate for motor deficits.
Dance is a full body workout. Engaging the core improves balance. Rhythmic movement improves coordination. It is an aerobic workout so you burn fat. Adding high-intensity intervals builds muscle strength. Moving to music stimulates the motor and sensory circuits in the brain. Movements are constantly being switched up (i.e. no muscle monotony), you can exercise longer as no muscle group is being worked to exhaustion.