Falls are a common cause of injury in older adults, with the prevention of falls being a priority for public health departments around the world. This study investigated the feasibility, and impact of an 8 week contemporary dance programme on modifiable physical (physical activity status, mobility, sedentary behaviour patterns) and psychosocial (depressive state, fear of falling) risk factors for falls.
An uncontrolled ‘pre-post’ intervention design was used. Three groups of older (60 yrs.+) adults were recruited from local community groups to participate in a 3 separate, 8 week dance programmes. Each programme comprised two, 90 min dance classes per week. Quantitative measures of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, depression, mobility and fear of falling were measured at baseline (T1) and after 8 weeks of dance (T2). Weekly attendance was noted, and post-study qualitative work was conducted with participants in 3 separate focus groups. A combined thematic analysis of these data was conducted.
Of the 38 (Mean Age = 77.3 ± 8.4 yrs., 37 females) who attended the dance sessions, 22 (21 females; 1 male; mean age = 74.8, ±8.44) consented to be part of the study. Mean attendance was 14.6 (±2.6) sessions, and mean adherence was 84.3% (±17). Significant increases in moderate and vigorous physical activity were noted, with a significant decrease in sitting time over the weekdays (p < 0.05). Statistically significant decreases in the mean Geriatric Depression Scale (p < 0.05) and fear of falling (p < 0.005) score were noted, and the time taken to complete the TUG test decreased significantly from 10.1 s to 7.7 s over the 8 weeks (p < 0.005). Themes from the focus groups included the dance programme as a means of being active, health Benefits, and dance-related barriers and facilitators.
The recruitment of older adults, good adherence and favourability across all three sites indicate that a dance programme is feasible as an intervention, but this may be limited to females only. Contemporary dance has the potential to positively affect the physical activity, sitting behaviour, falls related efficacy, mobility and incidence of depression in older females which could reduce their incidence of falls. An adequately powered study with control groups are required to test this intervention further.
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- Dancing in time: feasibility and acceptability of a contemporary dance programme to modify risk factors for falling in community dwelling older adults
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