Dancing May Lower Heart Risk
They used to call it “cutting a rug.”
Now, according to a study from the University of Western Sydney in Australia, dancing may be a fun, effective way to cut your risk of heart disease.
Researchers analyzed 11 population surveys from the U.K. between 1995 and 2007, including more than 48,000 adults age 40 and older with no heart disease at baseline. Questions were asked about frequency, duration and intensity of dancing and walking over the previous four weeks.
Only about 3,100 of the 48,000 people surveyed reported dancing of any intensity. Those individuals tended to be younger, have a lower body mass index, were less likely to have long-standing illnesses and got more overall physical activity than non-dancers.
Over the next several years 1,714 participants died due to cardiovascular disease. People who reported moderate intensity dancing and walking were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who did not – even after accounting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol use, body mass index, chronic illness, psychosocial distress and total physical activity.
All styles of dance tend to have slow or quick tempo options, and the quicker the better for heart health. The researchers advise anyone bored with walking to try dancing, even for short intervals.
The minimum recommended amount of moderate-intensity activity is 150 minutes a week – and adding in a little dancing may make that a more enjoyable goal to reach.