Postmenopausal women often struggle with managing their cholesterol, but a new study says that dancing may be the key to keeping it under control. The research published in Menopause suggests that dancing may not only lower cholesterol levels, but it could also improve fitness and body composition.
After menopause, women are more likely to gain weight and experience metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. These changes, when combined, can ultimately increase the risk of cardiovascular events.
During this phase of life, women are generally less active. This could result in a reduction of lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures. As a result of all of these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from low self-esteem and decreased self-image, which is directly related to overall mental health.
This study set out to show how dancing could minimize some health problems that are commonly associated with menopause. Physical activity has been previously found to reduce the risk of health concerns during this phase of life.
Researchers analyzed the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. They found that a three-times-weekly dance regimen improved the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women and self-image and self-esteem.
Although not seen as a common lifestyle behavior that could affect health, this study aims to change this. Dance therapy can be an attractive option for many women because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and a low risk of injury.
Dance has previously been linked to improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. These benefits all may contribute to a women’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle later in life.
“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of comradery from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.
For postmenopausal women who don’t enjoy traditional exercise, dance is a great way to reduce cardiovascular risk. It has both physical and mental health benefits, and it’s easy for most women to get started with a local dance group.