Dancing promotes better health in postmenopausal women

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Postmenopausal women often find it difficult to maintain a steady weight and healthy cholesterol level. Now, a team from the North American Menopause Society finds dancing can help postmenopausal women lower cholesterol levels, improve their overall fitness, lose weight, and improve self-esteem.

Previous studies show that after transitioning through menopause many women find themselves gaining weight. Additionally, risk of obesity increases and metabolic disturbances (high cholesterol, increases in triglycerides) become more common as well. Those bodily changes mean an overall greater risk of cardiovascular disease. All of this is further compounded by the fact that many women become less physically active post-menopause, resulting in loss of lean muscle and increased risk of suffering a fall and subsequent fracture. All of these physical changes can be a detriment to self-esteem and overall mental health as well.

It isn’t a secret that exercise and physical activity can help mitigate these physical changes. Furthermore, prior studies have even focused on dancing specifically with respect to body composition and functional fitness in postmenopausal women. This research, however, is the first ever to investigate the effect of dancing on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

3 days of dancing is good for both body and mind

The research indicates that dancing three times per week can improve lipid profile, functional fitness, self-esteem, and self-image in postmenopausal women. Moreover, dancing is particularly attractive for older women because it is inexpensive with a low risk of injury. Dancing also helps improve balance, overall strength, gait, postural control, and overall physical performance.

All of these cumulative benefits should give older women an improved ability to remain independent, mobile, and living a high-quality lifestyle for a longer period of time.

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of comradery from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director, in a media release.

The study is published in Menopause.

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