Hip pain and knee pain are common ailments among older adults. Research developed by the St. Louis University Medical Center in St. Louis suggests that dancing can help ease these pains.
The 12-week study, published in Geriatric Nursing (doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2014.03.008), included 37 senior-apartment residents (31 of them women) aged about 81. Each subject had lower-extremity stiffness or pain. Participants were assigned to either a Healthy-Steps™ dance therapy group or a wait-list control group. The dance group was instructed to meet up to twice per week for 45 minutes per session.
Throughout the study, participants reported less pain and stiffness than before the intervention. The researchers also observed improvements in gait speed among the dance group, as measured via a 10-meter walk test.
While study results were positive, the researchers suggested modifying the program as needed. “Dance-based therapy for older adults needs to be gentle, slow and include options so it can be performed standing or sitting because their fatigue or pain level can change day to day,” explained lead author Jean Krampe, PhD, in a press release.