You don’t need to know a pirouette from a pas de deux to benefit from ballet, according to a recent study of older Australians.

A recent study conducted by researchers from Queensland University of Technology, with the assistance of instructors from the Queensland Ballet, followed a group of older men and women as they participated in 10 ballet for seniors classes. Participants in the study had no formal dance training.

By the end of the study, participants reported experiencing:

  • Higher energy levels
  • Greater flexibility
  • Improved posture
  • Enhanced sense of achievement
  • Increased feelings of happiness
  • A greater sense of community and friendship

The physical benefits of dance on aging bodies is well-established, but this study also noted the joy and social connections that formed in just 10 weekly dance classes. Researchers suggest that such dance classes be encouraged more often as exercise options for older and younger adults, given the positive impacts on energy, flexibility, fitness and mental outlook.

This article originally appeared in Mind, Mood & Memory, a publication of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, dedicated to maintaining mental fitness for middle age and beyond.

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