Ballet is a wonderful way to exercise and move throughout our lives. And the benefits as we age are extensive:
BALANCE – The importance of balance and stability as we age is paramount. There is a significant correlation between good balance and longevity. Here is where ballet movement can really help. Ballet’s focus is on strength, stability, and training the muscles, ultimately improving one’s balance.
STRENGTH – Ballet exercises boost strength throughout your body, from the small intrinsic muscles of your feet to the larger muscles of your back, abdominals, glutes, legs and arms. This helps in correct posture and alignment of the body which in turn can help alleviate back pain, knee pain, joint pain, and other ailments.
MOBILITY – Ballet promotes flexibility and movement, allowing the dancer to increase their range of movement and agility. Maintaining general mobility as we get older, from tying our shoe-laces to getting out of a chair, is essential.
COGNITIVE FUNCTION – There have been numerous studies on the link between dance and cognitive function. Dance helps maintain and exercise our brain. Moving in time to music with different steps challenges the brain, and can reverse signs of ageing in the brain. (click here for more on this)
MENTAL WELL-BEING – One of the main reasons people dance is to modify their emotional state; typically, they strive to feel more joy and happiness and to reduce stress and anxiety. Not only are endorphins released during dance, but it is also a very present pursuit. It requires the dancer to be absolutely engaged in the moment. Some find it a meditation, some find huge mental clarity. Dance Movement Therapy is indeed growing and successful therapy in treating depression and anxiety. (read more about Dance and and mental health here)
JOY – The most important thing about ballet. JOY. There is a reason that humans have been dancing since the dawn of time. And it is because of the innate need in us to move to music. This connection between the body and rhythm of music is elemental and exhilarating.