Facebook Pixel

For Better Bone Health, Put on Your Dancing Shoes! Bust a Move, Not a Bone!

Rate This
Bones & Joints related image Photo: Getty Images

When we approach the afternoon of our lives, that does not necessarily mean the sun has to go down anytime soon. If you want to ensure a quality of life for many years, it’s no secret that physical fitness is just as important for older people as it is for the younger generations. It has substantial effects on muscular, cardiovascular, and bone health.

As we age, it is good to adjust and tailor our workout routine to suit our bodies. While we may not necessarily want to participate in an Iron Man competition at age 85, we can still boost the heart rate with some sort of stimulation, and a great way to do that doesn’t seem like exercise at all. Just put on some toe-tapping and head-bopping tunes and let your body start to feel the rhythm. Dancing actually creates a workout that provides a host of physical benefits that will keep you feeling your best.

Even when I was in elementary school, my spirited grandma would insist that I engage in some form of dancing to maintain my health. Of course, this endeavor also included a request to “perform” in the living room with my gangly younger cousin in front of a host of family members who looked like they would much rather be taking a nap than watching two pre-adolescents groove to “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang in a most awkward-like fashion.

Not one to be left on the sidelines, Grandma certainly knows how to work her dancing shoes. To hear some family members tell it, she used to kick up her heels at some of the most elite clubs in New York City back in the 1950s. These days, at nearly 106 years of age, Grandma is a bit more subdued, but if you grabbed her by the hand and slowly twirled her around, I’m certain she would find her groove.

The American Heart Association recommends some form of moderate exercise for 20 minutes, at least three times per week, to maintain heart health benefits in adults. While Grandma may not be on the dance floor working up a sweat to the golden oldies, she can still move at a moderate pace for an effective, low-impact workout that is sure to raise her heart rate and keep it elevated for an appreciable amount of time. Of course, these days she may claim that the walk from her table to the dance floor is a work out in and of itself! One study by an Italian heart institute revealed that those who danced three times per week actually improved their oxygen health by 18 percent. Dance movements like the twist allow for full-body movements that provide an excellent aerobic workout.

Even better news: The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggested dancing as a way to improve bone health. A weight-bearing activity, dancing creates bone/muscle/tendon interactions that help increase bone density, which usually begins its decline in our 30s. When you engage in an activity like dancing, you are forced to stretch your muscles, improving your overall flexibility. Dancing also requires a certain amount of balance, and improvements in balance helps to decrease falls and injuries which can lead to fractures. Dancing also aids in improving one’s gait. Once you feel the rhythm and hear the music, you can’t help but walk tall and bust a move! Just make sure that if you are out on the dance floor with Grandma, don’t trip over her cane. The National Osteoporosis Foundation didn’t mention that potential risk as Grandma shakes her groove thing across the floor! In that case, dance at your own risk! Grandma’s got some serious moves!

(Information for this article was found at http://www.livestrong.com/article/139177-effectiveness-dancing-programs-fitness-elderly/)

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

In addition to estrogen, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies as we grow older, our primary care doctors need to be more observant of our overall health. I was experiencing all kinds of aches, pains, swallowing difficulties and found out after 5-7 years that I had Sjogren's, Scleroderma (autoimmune diseases which cause inflammation). Inflammatory diseases can affect your bones and calcium causing pain and disability.

Doctors are not as vigilant as they should be.

Because my calcium was plummeting, I asked to see an Endocrinolgist to determine cause. She performed multiple blood tests and found that I was Vitamin D Deficient, Low Thyroid, Osteoporosis, High Cholesterol, Hight Alkaline Phosphatase and high GGT (which means Liver Disease, Calcium Leaching, or High Cholesteremia). I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrohsis. Other liver tests are not sensitive enough discover this disease. I am so incedibly upset that this went undiagnosed.
Doctors are too complacent and blame women's woes on their hormones or emotions.

Women need to be listened to more closely and doctors need to do a better job.

I am very upset because I asked my doctor if my osteopenia could be caused by organ damage and she said no. That was not the case.
It was because she did the wrong tests.

She was a Rhumatologist and should have know better. She also
should have done an antimitrochrodia test.

Women should be screened more thoroughly for other diseases as they approach menopause and midlife.

January 31, 2011 - 11:17am
EmpowHER Guest

I think doctors are not giving us enough information early enough about osteoporosis and prevention. I orginally diagnosed myself as the stereotype for osteoporosis at age 55 -- about 10 years ago. I am 5' 4", light haired, light eyed and small frame. I have never been sedentary because I have always walked, but I have not moderately or vigorously exercised. Just before menopause I realized from extensive medical reading that I was at severe risk for osteoporosis. When I discussed this with my Gyn, we agreed that I would take calcium for prevention. Then I asked him about estrogen as another tool and was prescribed Estrace for a short period of time. My doctor never prescribed vitamin D so the calcium really did not help prevent osteoporosis. I began taking vitamin D on my own and about a year later my doctor advised me to take vitamin D. However, I still ended up Vitamin D deficient because the Vitamin D was not enough as I aged more. Now at age 63, I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis of the spine and Osteopenia of the Spine. My Gyn and Primary care never gave me the whole scope. How long has the medical community known about this deficiency as you get older. What year was it confirmed and why were we not informed earlier to prevent its occurrence.

January 31, 2011 - 11:04am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.