Dance Therapy Improves Seniors’ Balance

Two recent studies conducted by University of Missouri researchers found that participation in dance-based therapy can improve balance and gait in older adults. Improved functionality among seniors can decrease their risk of falling and reduce costly injuries.

The researchers used a dance-therapy program called The Lebed Method (TLM), which includes a combination of low-impact dance steps choreographed to music. Sessions were led by certified TLM instructors and adjusted to fit the specific needs of the seniors who participated. The study included 18 dance sessions offered throughout a two-month period. Participants reported that they enjoyed the sessions and wanted to continue the program.

Researchers found that among seniors that stand up and move during sessions, dance therapy can increase their walking speed and balance, which are two major risk factors for falling.

In 2008, Krampe and MU researchers conducted a six-week pilot study with the Alexian Brothers PACE Program (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) in St. Louis. More than half of the eleven participants self-reported improvements in gait and balance.

TLM, also called Healthy Steps, was created by Shelley Lebed Davis and her two brothers who sought to improve range of motion and boost the spirits of seniors.

Heck, I didn’t need a study to know this. My soon to be 89-year-old mother went dancing three nights a week up until just a few years ago. She has not taken any tumbles of late. With her it is more the fear of falling that is in her head that puts her more at risk to actually fall.

Source: ScienceDaily