Irish dancing provides benefits for seniors

Dancing provides a laundry list of health benefits for seniors. Not only can older adults get in their daily exercise requirements by working on their balance and flexibility, but they can also boost their social lives by dancing with their friends. While all forms of dance have their benefits, researchers have recently found that one form may be key to preventing a range of diseases: Irish dance.

Irish dancing may be the key to fighting Parkinson’s disease
Daniele Volpe, a neurologist from Italy and head of the St. John of God hospital’s Parkinson’s Rehabilitation unit, conducted a study in which he discovered a connection between the Irish set dance and improved physical cognition among Parkinson’s patients. According to Irish Central, Volpe was inspired to examine the effects of Irish dance after watching a man with limited mobility due to Parkinson’s perfectly perform the moves to the routine. He gathered a group of 24 men and women who had moderate symptoms of the disease, then divided the participants in half, asking some to conduct physiotherapy while the others did Irish set dancing. After six months, those who did the Irish dance steps reported greater levels of improvement than those who did conventional exercises.

Senior flash mobs take over 
According to another article on Irish Central, mid-April marks Irish Flash Mob week. Several organizations have held flash mobs in a number of public locations, inspired from popular dances of the past. In 2012, one retirement community from Ontario celebrated by dancing in a Canadian Tire home goods store. The group of senior women from the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance emerged in traditional Irish attire, then took over the retail space to show off their moves. The video, which was uploaded to YouTube, had nearly 7,000 views as of April 2014.