“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” ~Agnes de Mille
Dancing, more than any other form of exercise has been found to delay the aging process.
Many of us danced through our teens, our twenties, and right on up to recently. If you were at the Senior Living Expo in March in Victoria, you watched the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society perform elegantly. There were also brave souls that got up and boogied to some of the other bands that entertained us.
But what happens when we can’t trip the light fantastic or boogie till we drop? We stop dancing. Our toes tap, our fingers snap, our hearts still want to be dancing, but our bodies just won’t move as smoothly around the dance floor any more. What to do?
I recently learned of an exercise called Chair Dance. It is a simple and gentle type of exercise done to music that is familiar to our generation; music from the big band era, jazz – the kind of music we danced to when we were young. The exercises are devoted to creating a greater sense of balance and wellbeing.
Sessions are approximately 45 minutes long and provide participants an opportunity for creative expression. The time also helps energize and stimulate muscle relaxation with increased joy of movement. Each week, the dance movements and exercises are gradually more challenging. All movements are designed for flexibility, and stretch muscles while working on different parts of the body.
As the lessons progress – usually about six weeks – muscle memory comes back and participants find themselves feeling more confident about movement in many areas of their lives. It also contributes to social interaction and brings people out of their shells. Not to mention that it can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and it works if you have had foot surgery and want to keep active.
In Victoria, there are sessions at Monterey Centre in Oak Bay, led by Katrina. Contact your local seniors centre to see if they are offering them there too.
So it is time to dance again – even if you’re sitting down!
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