Dance works all over for health, researcher says

April 28, 2017

Participants were tested for cognitive ability, balance, strength, gait speed, endurance, and physical activity levels. While final data have yet to be compiled and analyzed, Marquez says he is impressed by anecdotal findings.

"Most probably don't care if their fitness level changes, but hope it helps in their daily activities," he said. "They don't get tired as quickly, they do more and feel better -- physically and psychologically. Some say they feel better about themselves, and that they can now accomplish more."

Marquez will debrief the participants and their instructor when the pilot study ends to learn what improvements can go into a larger, more comprehensive study he hopes to get funding to conduct.

While Marquez's study focuses on the fast-growing elderly Latino population of urban Chicago, he thinks using dance as an exercise intervention among other elderly populations, regardless of ethnicity or region, may prove to be a way to better health. He also hopes eventually to study if dance can help prevent diabetes, obesity and reduce the risk for heart disease.

"Dance works all over for health. There's nothing specific to the biology or physiology of Latinos that would make it only work for them."

SOURCE University of Illinois at Chicago