Despite evidence that long-term dance exercise results in improved functional balance in older adults, it remains unclear whether people must first achieve a minimum level of skill before they can benefit from the exercise in terms of body balance. In order to evaluate whether or not exercise during early learning of dance is beneficial, we asked dance-inexperienced older adults to perform in pairs a 30-min lesson of danzón. Motion capture and ground reaction force recordings were used to determine the variability of body sway during quiet, upright standing before and immediately after the lesson. Significant reductions in variability of sway normalized by body height were found following the dance exercise. Interestingly, the taller individual who was instructed to take the "leader" role showed greater gains. Our findings indicate that learning to dance danzón at a beginner's level may be beneficial for balance in the elderly, despite the increased cognitive load in the early stages of skill acquisition.
- Body sway
- Dance interventions