Salsa Dancing Could Help Infirmed Older Latinos (w/video)


Salsa dancing may be the cure for older Latinos who have trouble with balance and other health issues.
University of Illinois at Chicago researcher David Marquez was awarded a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to see if a four-month instructional dance program for Latino seniors can improve their level of physical activity — and with it, balance, mobility and cognitive function.
According to a press release from the university, “Vigorous activity can improve the physical and mental health of older adults, but for many, particularly Latinos, exercise is not a regular part of their lives.”
“Older Latinos are also at high risk of developing disabilities, and one of our long-term goals is to prevent disability among this disadvantaged group,” said Marquez, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition.
Latinos ages 65 to 74 are much less likely than other seniors to participate in physical leisure-time activities, he said. This could be why they are twice as likely to report difficulty walking as non-Latino whites and they develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease an average of seven years earlier, he added.
In a pilot study of his dance program, Marquez found that there was a lot of interest in dancing among older Latinos.
Watch the University of Illinois video report on the program:

Photo (c) University of Illinois