Dancing may help older women maintain their ability to perform daily tasks, suggests a study published recently in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

In the study, researchers examined the potential effects of 16 different exercise types for reducing disability for activities of daily living (ADL) in older women.

The prospective study enrolled 1,003 community-dwelling older Japanese women without ADL disability at the start. In the baseline survey, all participants were asked whether or not they participated in any of 16 exercise types through a face-to-face interview. ADL disability during 8 years of follow-up was defined as dependence in at least one ADL task (walking, eating, bathing, dressing, or toileting).

ADL disability was noted in 130 participants (13%) during follow-up. After adjusting for confounders, participation in dancing, compared with non-participation, was associated with a 73% significantly lower likelihood for developing ADL disability. There were no significant associations between other exercise types and ADL disability, explains a media release from Wiley.

“Although it is unclear why dancing alone reduced the risk of ADL disability, dancing requires not only balance, strength, and endurance ability, but also cognitive ability: adaptability and concentration to move according to the music and partner, artistry for graceful and fluid motion, and memory for choreography,” says lead author Dr Yosuke Osuka, of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, in the release.” We think that these various elements may contribute to the superiority of dancing in maintaining a higher ADL capacity.”

[Source(s): EurekAlert, Wiley]