Dancing linked to a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease

Like moderate intensity walking, moderate intensity dancing is linked to a reduced risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease, a recent study suggests.

Dafna Merom, the study’s lead author and colleagues of the University of Western Sydney in Australia collected data of more than 48,000 adults aged 40 and older with no heart disease from 11 population surveys in the U.K. between 1995 and 2007.

The surveys consisted of questions about intensity, duration, and frequency of walking and dancing over the period of 4 weeks. These answers were then compared to statistics from the National Death Registry.

cardiovascular disease

In the study, 3,100 of the 48,000 participants reported dancing of any intensity. Two-thirds of them reported walking at any intensity. The result shows that those who danced were more likely to be younger, less likely to get chronic illnesses, had a lower body mass index (BMI), and more overall physical activities than non-dancers.

During observation, 1,714 people died because of cardiovascular disease. Participants who reported moderate intensity walking and dancing had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who did not take part in any activities, even after conditions like sex, age, smoking, socioeconomic status, alcohol use, chronic illness, psychosocial distress, body mass index and total physical activity are accounted for, as reported online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

It’s recommended that everyone should take at least 150 minutes per week for moderate-intensity activity, yet the analysis did not consist of a direct measurement of how much people were dancing, according to Merom. She also added that people can reach higher intensity than in walking while dancing, it may be for short time but this will accumulate, and people can get some benefits from vigorous-intensity physical activity. However, dance is also hard because it requires coordination, skills and learning. All of dance’s styles tend to have options of slow or quick tempo, but the quicker one is better for heart health, Merom said.

According to Dr. I-Min Lee of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, who was not involved in the study, a large body of literature over 60 years shows that energy released from physical activity lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. It doesn’t matter what activity is taken like swimming, walking, biking, dancing, or playing with children but moderate intensity.

It’s important to stick with being physically active and to do so, one must do what one likes, Lee added. It’s great that people like dancing, if not, they can walk if they prefer it.

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