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THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SQUARE DANCING


In squares of eight across the country, dancers from senior-citizen age on down are linking arms, sashaying, and "do-sa-doing" themselves to longer, healthier, and happier lives. They're having a blast and also lowering their risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, age-related memory loss, osteoporosis, and depression.

 

Good for Body and Mind


With all its moving, twisting, and turning, square dancing provides more than the daily dose of heart- and bone-healthy physical activity. Remembering all the calls -- from "do-sa-do" to 'allemande' -- keeps the mind sharp, potentially staving off age-related memory loss, experts say. And the companionship that regular square dancing offers is an antidote to depression and loneliness, a statement confirmed by square-dancing advocates everywhere.

The listening -- and executing the commands -- takes deep concentration. The twisting and turning are not too hard on you, but give your body the exercise that it needs.

There are four levels of square dancing. There's Mainstream, then there's Plus, followed by the more professional, exhibition-levels, A-1 and A-2.

It's just so much fun. Square dancing is setting friendship to music. It's having a place to get up and go in the evening where you can really get your circulation going and feel you have had a good workout.

'If You Can Walk, You Can Square Dance'

Square dancing contributes to a more healthy and independent lifestyle.

Anything that keeps you active will keep you healthier and feeling younger.

Any weight-bearing exercise, including square dancing, is a major benefit as one ages. Weight-bearing exercise improves bone health and thus may help stave off the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis.

Square dancing also helps you with the feeling of where you are in space and with coordination, and this may reduce falls and chances for fractures. Regular square dancing may boost endurance, and being able to tolerate longer bouts of moving faster may result in improved cardiac function as the heart, a muscle, can become more efficient if trained. Square dancing can be considered a type of cross training, which helps to offset the muscle loss and strength loss typically associated with normal aging.

A Social Form of Exercise


The physical benefits of square dancing are impressive, to be sure, but don't discount the social payoff.

The primary benefit of square dancing is the social interaction between people.

Most of the activities that people do these days are individual, such as golfing, tennis, and bowling. Square dancing is kind of unique in that it involves touching hands -- we turn, we swing, and that seems to bring us closer together.

And the touching in itself can be beneficial to health, according to studies conducted at the Touch Research Institute in Miami, which showed that regular touching can reduce stress and depression and enhance immune system function.

What to Expect


Ready to Sashay Your Way to Fitness?

You say you're tempted, but not sure if you've got what it takes? Don't underestimate yourself.

Square dancing is not as complex as it looks. We just learn one or two moves at a time and go from there.

So what's stopping you from joining in all the fun?

Contact our Public Relations Officer (PRO) today.

We take on new dancers once a year; look for more details on our new dancers page.


With grateful thanks to WebMD for providing much of this information.


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