Findings from a small Saint Louis University study published in Geriatric Nursing indicate that dancing eases hip or knee pain in older adults, and contributes to flexibility and better walking ability. The findings are significant because older adults who walk too slowly are more likely to fall, become hospitalized or require care from others.
Gait speed should be considered the sixth vital sign that can help predict adverse outcomes for older adults, according to the study authors, noting that the ability to walk even marginally faster helps keep them functional and independent. The study participants who danced were able to achieve this result, and in addition reported a reduction in consumption of pain medication of 39 percent. Read a news story about this study of dance therapy here.