Dance could help older women stay independent longer

Dance could help older women stay independent longer

As there is now more of a focus on fitness and health as a whole, experts and researchers are finding out more about niche areas of fitness, such as what demographics are most inactive and what the reasons for these findings are. Studies at the latter end of 2018 showed that older women and women of BAME backgrounds find fitness and group exercise unappealing and exclusive; leading to a gap in fitness between men and women.

This clear gap in inactivity can bring problems when it comes to getting older, with some people struggling to carry out daily tasks down to their inactivity leading to bigger problems. Personal Trainers and other fitness experts know this and are working hard to combat the problem.

Now, a recent study by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports examined how different physical exercises can boost older women’s’ ability to carry out the activities of daily living (ADL). Throughout the study, the looked at how 16 different exercises can help to make walking, eating, bathing, dressing and going to the toilet easier for older women.

The study looked at 1,003 participants, with researchers catching up with participants after 8 years of doing their designated activity to see if doing any activity, in fact, had any benefit of their ability to carry out ADL. The study showed positive signs, as when researchers caught up with participants, only 130 showed signs of struggling with ADL.

When researchers looked deeper into the study, they found that participants who used dance as their form of physical activity showed 73% less chance of developing ADL disability. The lead author of the study, Dr. Yosuke Osuka, of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, has said that this is down to dance activating various bodily functions that other exercises do not. He said that; “Although it is unclear why dancing alone reduced the risk of ADL disability, dancing not only requires balance, strength and endurance ability, but also cognitive ability with such things as concentration, adaptability and memory…”

These findings are huge for fitness experts focusing on older adults fitness, as it gives a clear route that can be used in an attempt to not only help keep older adults fit, but also make fitness more fun and appealing for one of the UK’s most inactive demographics.

Many Personal Trainers and Gym Instructors are already focusing their efforts on keeping older adults fit and healthy, as they are gaining the qualifications needed to train older adults in an effective yet appealing way. Not only are Trainers able to pursue older adult fitness qualifications, but they can also become qualified in Exercise to Music Instructing, which means Trainers are able to have a huge impact on not only their clients’ fitness but their quality of life as a whole.

Overall, this study gives the fitness industry a massive boost when it comes to older adults fitness, as it gives Trainers and Instructors the ability to focus in on something that is not only highly effective, but also highly enjoyable; meaning that there is now a way to combat the main aspects of fitness that are holding older adults back from keeping fit and active.

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