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Dance to prevent falls

Every year, 30% of adults aged 65 and over, and 50% of those over 80 suffer falls, and a significant number of these will lead to a fracture. Fractures become more dangerous as we get older as they make mobility, eating properly and social interactions even more difficult than usual and can push some more frail adults over the edge. We need to work to keep our balance, suppleness and agility the best they can be. Some may argue that trying to dance is just increasing the risk of a fall, but it's a vicious circle: the less we move, the quicker we lose muscle mass, coordination and strength.

This study from Switzerland is very encouraging - the researchers have looked at the results of 29 randomised clinical trials comparing dancers with the same age group following their normal activities. They found that the risk of falling was 37% lower for the dancing groups. They also mention the improved balance and body strength in dancers (lower body).

So... take great care to choose your dance moves according to your ability - start by sitting down if you're unsteady on your feet, but make sure that you move several times a day.

The Click and Dance Youtube channel proposes a playlist of sitting moves, moves for mindfulness, learning simple steps and more complex moves once you've built your strength up. Start slowly and steadily and build up your strength and balance by doing the moves several times through the day.

The researchers say: "The association of dance-based mind-motor activities with consistent improvements in balance, mobility, and lower body strength supports (previous) findings. Notably, the analyses suggest that greater frequency (≥3 times per week) and a duration of the intervention between 12 and 24 weeks are associated with greater benefits from these interventions with regard to fall and functional outcomes."


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