Background: Previous studies show that in-person dance training is a beneficial form of physical activity that involves mental, social, and physical dimensions. This exploratory study investigated the benefits of a 12-week online dance training intervention on mental and physical health outcomes for older women. Methods: A convergent parallel mixed-method design was used. Forty-five older adults (74.0 ± 5.3 yrs old, 44 women) were recruited through advertisements at activity and rehabilitation centers in the North Denmark region. The intervention consisted of two weekly 60-min classes of improvisation and salsa delivered online through video call applications. Changes in physical health outcomes (body mass and composition, resting blood pressure, Senior Fitness Test battery) and self-rated health and wellbeing (health-related quality of life (HRQOL), feelings of loneliness) were assessed prior to and after 12 weeks of dancing. Focus group interviews were conducted post-intervention to further explore the benefits as well as the participant’s experience of the intervention. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data was conducted. Results: Thirty-two participants (all women) completed the study. Significant improvements in fitness were found for the number of arm curls performed (baseline: 12.3 ± 3.0; post-intervention: 13.7 ± 3.0, P = 0.005), 2-min step test performance (baseline: 66.5 ± 20.0 reps.; post-intervention: 73.8 ± 22.6 reps., P = 0.016), and chair sit-and-reach (baseline: 0.4 ± 11.3 cm; post-intervention: 5.5 ± 10.1 cm, P < 0.001). There was a significant increase in body mass from baseline to post-intervention (P < 0.015). The themes from the focus groups included (1) Participation, (2) Challenges, (3) Progression, (4) Motivation, (5) Perceived health and wellbeing, and (6) Online dance instruction. No significant changes were reported in HRQOL and loneliness from the quantitative data, although the qualitative data did reveal improved feelings of physical health and wellbeing. Conclusions: The intervention improved several aspects of fitness in older women and improved the participants’ perceptions of their own physical abilities and wellbeing. While most participants found the online intervention enjoyable, several participants missed the feedback from the instructors that naturally occurs with in-person instruction.

TidsskriftBMC Geriatrics
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 2 maj 2024

Bibliografisk note

© 2024. The Author(s).


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