The effect of dance on the memory and proprioceptive ability of the elderly
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As people age, their memory and proprioceptive ability generally deteriorate, especially in their later years of life. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), episodic and longer term memory typically decline as one ages (APA Office on Aging and Committee on Aging, Vierck, n.d.). The APA also lists exercise as a way to improve forgetfulness. Dance is a form of exercise, which can, on its own, enhance one’s memory, however, by learning combinations (sequences of dance steps) and working the brain, dance can further improve memory and limit forgetfulness. Additionally, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, dance improves static balance (Stawicki, Wareńczak, & Lisiński, 2021). The study I conducted tests the effect of two months of dance on people of 60-80 years’ memory and proprioceptive ability. Participants in the study were taught combinations in a dance class for the two months, and various tests were performed over the span of the study, such as balance, limb control, and recall evaluations. These results over the months were compared to the participants’ baseline in order to study the effects of dance. My hypothesis was that due to the dance training, the people’s scores on recall, limb control, and balance tests will improve. It is important to actively attempt to find solutions or ways to improve the memory and proprioceptive ability of elderly people, as these are problems they encounter frequently. Dance poses a cost-effective and potentially enjoyable solution to commonly experienced problems as people age.
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