Dance exercise for older adults: A pilot study investigating standing balance following a single lesson of danzón

Azucena Guzmán-García, Leif Johannsen, Alan M. Wing

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7 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Dance Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Balance
  • Body sway
  • Dance interventions
  • Danzón
  • Posture

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