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Articles of Interest » Dancing and Health » Medical Studies Confirm Ballroom Dancing Keeps Elderly Fit, Alert and Happy

Medical Studies Confirm Ballroom Dancing Keeps Elderly Fit, Alert and Happy

Date Published:
May 27, 2005

Medical Studies Confirm Ballroom Dancing Keeps Elderly Fit, Alert and Happy

May 27, 2005 – A medical study of elderly men and women over age 75 concludes what ballroom dance fans have always known - their favorite activity is great for health and happiness. The complexity and moving with the music lower the risk of dementia, the researchers say.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City studied 469 people over age 75 and found that ballroom dancing was associated with a lowered risk of dementia. The mentally challenging aspects of dancing -- following complex dance steps, moving in time and staying with the rhythm of music -- is believed to be responsible. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the last few years, many prominent medical research centers have announced clinical studies highlighting the benefits of a regular program of ballroom dance both for fitness and battling Alzheimer's.

"We see the benefits of ballroom dancing in our studios every day, and we see it whenever our students and teachers gather for dance parties and competitions. Dancers are a lively and social group, excited about what they are doing and enjoying each other's company," says Thomas D. Murdock, Vice President, Marketing for Arthur Murray International. "They are happy and they are having fun. It's a winning combination for everyone."

Studies on the benefits of ballroom dance have also been conducted by California State University at Long Beach, showing that even beginning students can get their heart rates up to near-maximum training rates with a five-minute warm-up and a 20-minute Cha Cha, Polka or Swing. Even moderate ballroom dance burns between 250 - 300 calories per hour, and vigorous dancing can burn as many as 400 calories per hour.

In addition, the Mayo Clinic Health Letter encouraged readers to try ballroom dancing as a great way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular health and help in developing strong social ties, which contributes to self- esteem and a positive outlook.

A news release from Arthur Murray Dance Studio says a visit to any of their studios offers further proof that all of these studies are right on target. "Students are happy, as this is the place they come to have fun, see their friends, make new friends, and enjoy a respite from everyday lives. At amateur and professional competitions, the same vision presents itself -- people from all ages moving, dancing, and, above all, smiling," says the release.

The dance instruction company says Arthur and Kathryn Murray are perhaps the best example of this. They both continued dancing long after retiring from active management of the organization and both lived -- and danced -- well into their 90s. Many Arthur Murray Dance Studio owners have seen age 65 come and go without thinking of retiring or even slowing down.

News source:

Arthur Murray Dance Studios can be found throughout the United States and Canada and in Brazil, Italy, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, Japan, Australia and Puerto Rico. For more information about ballroom dance, visit the Arthur Murray International website at