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Article Title

Dance Balance: 8-week interventions of tele-dance classes for older adults - a remote research solution

Abstract

The rate of death from falls among older adults has been increasing by 3.0% per year to reach more than 32,000 in 2018 [1,2]. Falls increase with along with deterioration to the systems and muscular strength [3]. Dance classes have been used as a fun and engaging way increase physical activity levels and improve postural stability among older adults [4]. However, obstacles such transportation, living in remote areas, and pandemic regulations are difficulties to in-person classes. PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine if 8-week semesters of online dance classes could be a safe, feasible and accessible option to improve postural stability in older adults. METHODS: Two cohorts of participants (n1=10, 73 ±2 years; n2=17, 74 ±7 years) were recruited to participate in 8-week semesters of dance classes. Classes were held for 1 hour, twice per week on a video communication platform. Postural stability was assessed pre and post via 30-second trials of quiet standing facing forwards and sideways to the webcam; in Semester 1 trials were completed with the eyes open, whereas eyes were closed in Semester 2. The recorded assessments were analyzed using a sports analysis software to obtain anteroposterior and mediolateral sway displacement of the shoulders and hips. Significance was evaluated using nonparametric statistics (p<.05). RESULTS: A significant reduction in anteroposterior hip sway was found during trials of quiet standing with the eyes open in Semester 1, p=0.015. Conflicting results were found in Semester 2 as trials of quiet standing with eyes closed failed to reach significance, p=0.163. No significant improvements were found in mediolateral hip sway or in shoulder sway. CONCLUSION: Online dance classes provide a novel and accessible way for older adults to improve their postural stability, however the efficacy may be limited when working with highly active older adults. Differences in activity levels may explain the conflicting findings of Semesters 1 and 2. Current studies are seeking to overcome the limitations in intensity by combining the dance classes with blood flow restriction. The shift towards online fitness interventions offers vast potential to remove barriers, improve accessibility, connect, improve quality of life and reduce the fall risk among older adults.

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