Dance improves lipid profile, physical function in postmenopause
Postmenopausal women who completed a 16-week dance intervention saw significant improvements in lipid profile, physical fitness levels and body image compared with baseline measurements, according to data published in Menopause.
“Menopause is accompanied by several changes in the woman’s body that can lead to metabolic and functional damage, in addition to damage to self-esteem and mental health,” Camila Buonani da Silva, PhD, leader of the sports research group, in the department of physical education at Sao Paulo State University, Brazil, told Healio. “Our findings indicate that dance should be encouraged in postmenopausal women, as it is a practice that promotes physical, metabolic and mental health benefits, in addition to being affordable, having a low risk for injury and being an option that attracts people of all ages, including older women.”
Da Silva and colleagues analyzed data from 36 healthy, postmenopausal women (mean age, 57 years) who danced three times per week for 90 minutes each session, evaluated at baseline and 16 weeks. Activity intensity was evaluated with a heart rate monitor during all training sessions; the standardized intensity was set at 70% of maximal heart rate. Researchers assessed body fat and lean mass via DXA, lipid profile via fasting blood samples, functional fitness via the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance test battery, self-image and self-esteem via questionnaire.
At 16 weeks, mean triglyceride level fell from 156.5 mg/dL to 131.5 mg/dL (P < .01); mean HDL cholesterol rose from 55.4 mg/dL to 60 mg/dL (P < .001); and total cholesterol rose from a mean of 199.5 mg/dL to 211.8 mg/dL (P < .01).
The dance intervention also improved coordination metrics (P < .001), including agility (P < .01) and aerobic capability (P < .001). Classification of general function fitness index (GFFI) was considered regular at baseline (GFFI of 200-299) but improved after 16 weeks of dance practice (GFFI of 300-399; P < .001).
The researchers wrote that dance therapy is an appropriate measure to mitigate the declines observed with aging among postmenopausal women, such as balance, postural control, gait, strength and physical performance deficits.
“Our findings indicated that dance is a practice capable of helping to improve the lipid profile, functional fitness and self-image or self-esteem in postmenopausal women,” da Silva told Healio.
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Camila Buonani da Silva, PhD, can be reached at email@example.com.