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Dancing May Help Women Retain Independence Later in Life

Dance is an activity which combines physical and psychosocial aspects, and helps promote self-expression, self-esteem, and self-confidence. A recent study suggests that dancing may help women retain the ability to perform everyday tasks later in life.


Participants in the study included 1,003 community-dwelling older Japanese women without a disability for activities of daily living (ADL) at the onset of the study. All of the women were asked if they participated in any of 16 exercise types at the beginning of the study period. The researchers then determined whether or not they developed dependence in at least one ADL task, including walking, eating, bathing, dressing, or toileting.


During the eight year follow up period, 130 participants, 30% of the study group, developed an ADL. After adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found that participation in dancing was associated with a 73% significantly lower likelihood of developing ADL disability, when compared with non-participation.


No significant associations were found between other exercise types and ADL disability.


Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology led the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 18, 2018, in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

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