Dance is no longer a thing just for the young. With the advent of an aging society, health issues of the elderly population are on the rise. According to data from the U.S. National Council on Aging, 92 percent of senior citizens over the age of 65 have at least one chronic condition and 77 percent have at least two. That is not all--the types and symptoms of the diseases they suffer from are diverse. For the seniors, therefore, it is important to choose an exercise that they find manageable and enjoy. That’s where dance comes in.
Dance is a form of sport that is easy to follow. With rhythmic movements coupled with cheerful music, seniors can have lots of fun while getting exercise. Typical elderly-tailored dance exercises include senior aerobics, dance sports, and line dance. Senior aerobics is about performing movements along with music, such as clapping, stroking, marching in place and walking while clapping at the same time. It not only strengthens the lungs and improves flexibility but also helps maintain mental health. Dance sports such as the waltz and cha-cha help control the heartbeat and enhance the cardiovascular system for the seniors. They are also effective in preventing adult diseases and obesity. Lastly, line dance refers to dance movements in which people line up in a row and dance, with equally good health benefits. It is specifically beneficial to improving cardiovascular health, increasing stamina, and strengthening the bones and muscles.
|[Photo of the Senior Dance Class; Photo by Julia Lee]|
Dancing can relieve mental and physical stress. It also helps control your body weight, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. Dance classes for the elderly are not well-known yet, but a positive perception has been spreading. Various dance classes targeting the elderly, such as Silver Gymnastics and Line Dance, can be found at local welfare centers, life-long education institutes and sports centers of each region in the country.
Due to my deep interest in senior health and dance, I took some ideas from K-pop and recreated some dance moves for the seniors. To be specific, as the majority of K-Pop choreography consists of challenging and quick moves, I revised them and created an easier version of the dance, considering the senior’s physical state and limitations. I then offered those choreographies on YouTube so that seniors could easily pick up on the moves. When I heard that a senior dance class decided to use my choreographies based on Momoland's choreography on YouTube this summer, I was happy to go to that dance class to help out as a one-day teacher and demonstrate the dance moves.
Mrs. Kim, a 63-year old lady, expressed her enthusiasm by stating, “Even though the song initially seemed very new and challenging, after a couple of tries, the choreography felt not as hard as I used to think. Now when I hear the music, I even sing along to it.” She also said that she enjoyed dancing with her grandchildren to the music after the class. She was able to feel herself stepping one step closer towards her grandchildren through my choreography and the K-Pop song.
|[Photo of Interview; Photo by Julia Lee]|
It was heartwarming to learn about the positive effects of dance on the elderly. Also, it was evident that dance does not only improve physical health but also change the attitudes of the elderly towards K-pop culture and themselves.
Julia (Eunseo) Lee
Junior (Grade 11)
Chadwick International School
Julia (Eunseo) Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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