Effects of Dance/Movement Training vs. Aerobic Exercise Training on cognition, physical fitness and quality of life in older adults: A randomized controlled trial.J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2020 Jan; 24(1):212-220.JB
It is generally accepted that physical activity promotes healthy aging. Recent studies suggest dance could also benefit cognition and physical health in seniors, but many styles and approaches of dance exist and rigorous designs for intervention studies are still scarce. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of Dance/Movement Training (DMT) to Aerobic Exercise Training (AET) on cognition, physical fitness and health-related quality of life in healthy inactive elderly.
A single-center, randomized, parallel assignment, open label trial was conducted with 62 older adults (mean age = 67.48 ± 5.37 years) recruited from the community. Participants were randomly assigned to a 12-week (3x/week, 1hr/session) DMT program, AET program or control group. Cognitive functioning, physical fitness and health-related quality of life were assessed at baseline (T-0), and post-training (T-12 weeks).
41 participants completed the study. Executive and non-executive composite scores showed a significant increase post-training (F(1,37) = 4.35, p = .04; F(1,37) = 7.01, p = .01). Cardiovascular fitness improvements were specific to the AET group (F(2,38) = 16.40, p < .001) while mobility improvements were not group-dependent (10 m walk: F(1,38) = 11.67, p = .002; Timed up and go: F(1,38) = 22.07, p < .001).
Results suggest that DMT may have a positive impact on cognition and physical functioning in older adults however further research is needed. This study could serve as a model for designing future RCTs with dance-related interventions. REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials. gov Identifier NCT02455258.