With the average age for menopause in the United States sitting right around 51 (according to the Mayo Clinic), women approaching or in their 50s are likely familiar with at least some of the symptoms that go along with it. Menopause brings shifts in hormones and changes in the body, which can also affect mental well-being.
That’s why it’s important to prioritize not only physical health after 50 but also mental health (they’re intrinsically linked, after all). A new study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has a suggestion for the best workout to boost both: dancing.
How dancing can help postmenopausal women.
For this research, they aimed to find out how dance would affect body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image or self-esteem in the women who participated. They found that incorporating a dance routine three days a week demonstrated benefits for lipid profile and functional fitness in women—and also improved self-esteem.
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“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,” said Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D., MBA, the NAMS medical director. “In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of camaraderie from the shared experience of learning something new.”
In terms of more specific benefits, regular dancing was linked to improved balance, postural control, gait, and strength—altogether resulting in improved physical fitness that may help improve overall quality of life for postmenopausal women. Although it was a small study, the potential health benefits for this lighthearted form of exercise certainly seem promising.
What we love about dance for fitness.
Way back at the start of 2021, the team at mindbodygreen made a commitment to working joy into our well-being, and for Senior Health Editor Kristine Thomason, that meant adding dance to our fitness routines.
“There’s no denying that dance—whether you’re waltzing with a loved one, jumping around to your favorite jams with a friend, or even trying out a new TikTok routine—can bring on all the good feels,” she wrote. “Not only is it fun, but dance also packs some pretty impressive physical and mental well-being benefits.”
If you’re feeling like your workout is in need of a shake-up, feel free to freestyle a dance routine to get moving or even try this 7-minute heart-opening dance cardio workout from fitness trainers Jules Bakshi and Gabi Cortez.