Tell that to the 70 something couple I met at Starbucks this morning. Some R&B with a great groove was playing in the background when I noticed the wife was swaying back and forth a bit to the music.
“Good for you!” I said to her. “Did you know that science has proven that dancing, above all other activities including biking and swimming, gives you a 76% advantage in NOT getting Alzheimer’s?”
“No. I didn’t know that,” she smiled shyly, “but I do love to dance.”
“Well, the New England Journal of Medicine just posted a study that says dancing integrates several brain functions at once—kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional which increase your neural connections and thereby decreases your risk of dementia.”
She looked at me blankly. So, I turned to her husband and asked, “Do you dance with her?”
“Heavens, no,” he scoffed. “I don’t dance. I can’t remember all the steps.”
“What?” I chided. “Well you better learn or you increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.”
“Dancing is just too hard,” he replied.
“Okay,” I said, looking down at his feet. He was wearing white sneakers.
“Shuffle your right foot like this,” I said, demonstrating a simple, tap shuffle.
“That’s easy,” he replied, imitating my shuffle, “but it’s sure not dancing.”
“Okay,” I countered, “now add your other foot for a ‘ball change.’”
I demonstrated and he copied me exactly, stepping back with his right foot and forward with his left.
“Big deal,” he remarked.
“Now put them together,” I instructed, and you have, ‘shuffle, ball change.’”
He executed this perfectly.
“Well, that’s still NOT dancing,” he insisted.
“You’re right,” I replied. “However, you have just mastered a fairly, tricky, tap step with ease. Imagine what you could do with the waltz or the polka.”
“Oh,” he smiled, “I would LOVE to be able to do the polka!”
“That’s the easiest dance there is!” I exclaimed, again demonstrating as I counted, ‘one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three.’”
When their coffee arrived, I said to the wife, “Now when you get home, sign up for polka lessons.” She smiled and I almost had the sense that she just might do it.
This gal in her 80’s however, needs no lesson or coaxing whatsoever.
P.S. That’s me dancing with a complete stranger who told me he, “couldn’t dance.”
Nice article. I was expecting though that the guy would say that he can’t dance if he pairs off with his wife. I used to go ballroom dancing with my wife but we never danced together. It would just end up in an argument. So she danced wither dance instructor while I danced with mine. But dancing is such a lovely and enjoyable pastime recommended for all us elderlies.
Well Joseph….I ‘hear’ you. My husband has not danced with me since we were dating! However, he has always let me dance with other men, “as long as it is a fast dance.” haha
Thanks for the facts, Helen! My mom who is 79 teaches country dancing in Phoenix with her husband, Wild Bill. We have discovered Monday night swing, with a live band, at the Five Spot in East Nashville. By far we are the oldest ones there, but we’ve been surprised at how much fun we have! Keep up the good columns, so lovely.
Your mom sounds awesome!! Guess like mother, like daughter. 🙂
Luv this post. Hubby and I were great dancers in our younger years and I am going to share this post with him. Dancing is like riding a bicycle, you never forget. Though, I move a bit slower and wobble a little more, I still love to dance.
You’re not alone….last time I danced, tried my ‘turn’….which I could do easily in my younger days–and almost fell over!! So,, let us both dance…and wobble into the sunset. 🙂