In some places, it can be difficult for senior citizens to find appropriate outlets to keep both body and mind active. Fortunately, that is not an issue in Sarasota.
With sessions ranging from swing to ballroom dancing, the ‘Dancing on the Suncoast’ initiative brings together senior citizens to bond and boogie.
‘Dancing on the Suncoast’ operates as part of the Lakewood Ranch Community and always has a packed schedule of events. This October is no different. Throughout the month, ‘Dancing on the Suncoast’ seniors have the chance to practice their tango and waltz. Special events, like the Latin night on October 12 and an Autumn Showcase on Oct 26, give dancers the chance to show what they have learned in a friendly environment.
The physical and cognitive benefits of dancing are keenly felt at a later age. Heidi Rossetti, a psychiatrist from the UT Southwestern Medical Center, asserts that dancing is great for both the muscles and the heart. As Sally Perkins wrote on our blog in 2017 , just a few minutes of daily exercise can help to fight against the cardiovascular diseases that can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Strictly for fun
Initiatives like ‘Dancing on the Suncoast’ aren’t designed to turn rookie senior dancers into elite competitors, something that may be a futile endeavor. Currently in its 17th season, Strictly Come Dancing is a British television show in which celebrities work with professionals to develop their limited dancing ability. Betway analyzed the 222 contestants across the years to prove that younger stars find it easier to learn on their feet, as only one of the 32 dancers to have finished in the top two was older than 40 – and they were only 41.
However, ‘Dancing on the Suncoast’ isn’t about comparing senior dancers to television performers. Progress is prioritized over performance. If each senior can get a little bit more active and interact with new people in each session, then the initiative is delivering huge physical and social benefits to participants.
Reluctant seniors in Sarasota can take inspiration from The Gray Wolves, an ice hockey team in New York that boasts 95-year-old Marsh Webster on its roster. Webster shows that age doesn’t have to be a barrier, and the same is true in dancing. While younger dancers may take the plaudits on reality television shows, it is those of a later age who have the most to gain.
It is important to supplement physical activity with mental stimulation. The Friendship Center offers a range of activities, including bingo and cards, that brings seniors together for light-hearted competition and social interaction. Seniors in this area are blessed with a range of ways to keep their mind and body healthy, reinforcing that Sarasota is a great place to live – and to dance.
Photos from Dancing On The Suncoast