By Alesia Mayfield, Eastside News
On Fridays, a group of older adults gather at Goodman Community Center for 90 minutes of fun and exercise. Gayle Laszewski, older adult manager at Goodman, sees firsthand how the older folks are enjoying the line dancing activity and is enthusiastic about the program.
“Line dancing fits in so well for promoting all areas of health. You get your body moving, you increase your brain fitness by learning new dance steps and you have fun with other people,” she said.
Dancing helps to maintain coordination with all parts of the body, as well as learning a sequence of steps. Laszewski said there is no judgement about anyone’s dance ability or physical fitness level, and moving to music puts people in a good mood.
“This class gets me out of the house, and I enjoy the camaraderie,” said Dennis, one of the regulars.
“If you can walk, you can line dance.”
The idea for the offering started after a Goodman event featuring line dancing with the Dairyland Dancers. Laszewski reached out to the troupe and classes began in 2019.
In addition to getting the older adults engaged in a healthy physical activity, line dancing is a perfect exercise for improving coordination and balance, increasing cardiovascular health and brain memory, and is seen as an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, participating in leisure activities like line dancing has been associated with a lower risk of dementia.
“Line dancing is fun, beneficial and everyone can do it,” said Sam, a regular attendee. “If you can walk, you can line dance.”
“The great thing about line dancing is that you can do it at any age,” said Pam Fisher, who instructs the group. “You are never alone when you are line dancing. Bring your body and your mind will follow.”
Currently, there are eight regulars who attend the weekly session with a few drop-ins, but there’s room for more to attend and enjoy the fun.
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