by: Dan Fogel
While my grandfather and his fellow dancers are out there having fun, they may also be getting healthier. Some older people think that exerting themselves through dance or other exercise is bad for them, but in most cases, the opposite is true. If people fail to exercise, they become frailer and lose strength and flexibility, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Dance can increase flexibility and strengthen muscles, and helps people develop a sense of balance that helps ward off falls and injury. Regular exercise, including dance, can also help prevent or control certain illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes, which strike many people as they age.
If you have a chronic condition, or you're over age 60, you should consult with your doctor before starting a new activity such as dancing. If you've been inactive but are healthy, a doctor could advise you how to slowly increase activity and build up strength.
You can also discuss with your doctor what symptoms may be warning signs that you're overdoing it. Certainly any new exercise-related symptoms, such as fever, chest pain, or a swelling in your joints, should tell you to put the brakes on and see your doctor.
And remember, you can start out gradually, perhaps doing some walking and moderate weightlifting to get in shape for going out. Many seniors keep up their strength by working out regularly at a local gym.
So if you're healthy and aging, and you want to dance, what's keeping you off the dance floor? For those of you who worry about shaking a leg at an advanced age, Just do it if you feel like it. It's a wonderful pastime, you'll make friends, and you could live longer, or at least healthier.