THURSDAY, Dec. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) — For older women, participation in dancing is associated with a reduced likelihood of incident disability in activities of daily living (ADL), according to a study published online Dec. 18 in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

Yosuke Osuka, Ph.D., from the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, and colleagues enrolled 1,003 community-dwelling older Japanese women without ADL disability at baseline in an eight-year prospective study. Participants were asked at baseline whether they participated in any of 16 types of exercise. ADL disability was defined as dependence in at least one ADL task during the follow-up period.

The researchers found that 130 participants (13 percent) had disability in ADL during the eight-year follow-up period. Participation in dancing, compared with nonparticipation, was correlated with a significantly lower likelihood of incident ADL disability (odds ratio, 0.27) after adjustment for confounders and other exercise types. Other exercise types were not significantly associated with incident ADL disability.

“Although it is unclear why dancing alone reduced the risk of ADL disability, dancing requires not only balance, strength, and endurance ability, but also cognitive ability: adaptability and concentration to move according to the music and partner, artistry for graceful and fluid motion, and memory for choreography,” Osuka said in a statement. “We think that these various elements may contribute to the superiority of dancing in maintaining a higher ADL capacity.”

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