Physical activity is known to be, among others, an effective tool for older people to ensure successful aging and prevent further diseases or disabilities, either in connection with physical of cognitive functioning. It also brings additional benefits in terms of psychological effects and social involvement.
Earlier studies found out that dancing (jazz, salsa, tango, cultural dances, etc.) is a type of physical exercise improving various aspects of health, such as balance, strength, flexibility, gait, fitness or motor ability, social relationships and even positive emotions. It can therefore facilitate successful aging.
Most studies investigating the effects of dance based on structured dance types, with a typical movement sequence, while only a few studies analysed unstructured dances (i.e. based on creative input and improvisation). The latter may however be of particular interest for older people and successful aging, as beyond the positive effects of dancing already proved in the literature, creative dance could also develop coping with physical and psychosocial changes while being easy to perform (no technical barrier) and developing further imagination, creation of own ways of expression, openness, wider thoughts, social interaction and positive feelings (joy, pleasure, action…).
Therefore, the authors of the present study aimed to assess the effects of a creative dance (CD) programme on elderly adults’ fitness, functional balance, and mobility compared to standard stretching exercises. While both activities improve fitness and balance, CD shows more effects on dynamic balance and mobility.