Effects of Single-Task Versus Dual-Task Training on Balance Performance in Older Adults: A Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

Patima Silsupadol, PT, PhD, Anne Shumway-Cook, PT, PhD, Vipul Lugade, MS, Paul van Donkelaar, PhD,
Li-Shan Chou, PhD, Ulrich Mayr, PhD, Marjorie H. Woollacott, PhD

Dual-task training is effective in improving gait speed under dual-task conditions in elderly participants with balance impairment. Training balance under single-task conditions may not generalize to balance control during dual- task contexts. Explicit instruction regarding attentional focus is an important factor contributing to the rate of learning and the retention of the dual-task training effect.

Year study was published: 2009

Click here to read the full article


Association of Dance-Based Mind-Motor Activities With Falls and Physical Function Among Healthy Older Adults A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Michèle Mattle, MSc, MPH; Patricia O. Chocano-Bedoya, MD, PhD; Melanie Fischbacher, MSc; Ursina Meyer, PhD; Lauren A. Abderhalden, PhD; Wei Lang, PhD; Richard Mansky, MD; Reto W. Kressig, MD; Johann Steurer, MD; E. John Orav, PhD; Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, MD, DrPH

Are dance-based mind-motor activities associated with benefits for fall prevention and better physical functions, such as balance, mobility, and strength, in healthy adults 65 years and older? This systematic review and meta-analysis of 29 randomized clinical trials found that dance based mind-motor interventions were associated with a statistically significant reduction (37%) in fall risk and a statistically significant reduced rate (31%) of falls. There was a statistically significant association between favorable physical function outcomes and dance-based mind-motor activities for participants in the dance-based mind-motor intervention groups compared with those in the control groups.

Dance-based mind-motor activities may help fall prevention efforts in healthy older adults.

Year study was published: 2020

Click here to read the full article


Dual-task exercises in older adults: A structured review of current literature

Luz A. Varela-Vásquez, Eduard Minobes-Molina, Javier Jerez-Roig


Considerable attention has recently focused on the role of dual-task exercises (DT) in the older adult. The aim was to conduct a review to describe the dual-task exercises that have been shown to be effective in improving balance and other physical characteristics such as decreased falling and walking speed in older adults. Review of intervention studies, in the Pubmed, PEDro, CINAHL and Web of Science databases. The search produced 498 references, 11 of which were identified with the description of the dual-task exercises, finding a wide variety of exercises, as well as great variability of outcome measures, discovering that the dual task is predominantly used for balance and walking speed training. All studies presented at least one group performing a double cognitive-motor task, some studies used the fixed priority modality in one group and variable in another, finding greater improvements in variable prioritisation. It can be said that dual-task training in older adults can improve balance and walking speed, which in turn reduces the risk of falling only if the planned dual-task training meets certain characteristics, such as training in specific concepts crucial in motor learning and dual-task training modalities.

Year study was published: 2020

Click here to read the full article


Looking Forward!

This was the last dance we did in-person inside.  Susan’s class at the Madison Central Library was a line dance created by young people in Vietnam in reaction to the Ghen Cô Vy Challenge from the Vietnamese Government. It was a way to spread the message about washing hands and staying safe from the coronavirus.

We are looking VERY much FORWARD to getting back to in-person dancing! Remember to check our Classes page regularly, or sign up for our email list to stay in the know.

Whether you join us or not – KEEP MOVING! 

New Classes – Spring & Summer 2021!

There are SO MANY WAYS to keep dancing! Remember, just three hours a week of challenging your balance (dancing being a FUN way) is shown by research to reduce falls risk! Start today!

Ballroom Basics for Balance has been growing and changing with this past year. We are ready to offer you some new classes!
See our Classes webpage for ALL the details.

Spring 2021 – sponsored by Madison Senior Center

  • Krista and Atala continue their amazing class with a new series on Fridays from 10a – 11a, starting 09 April.
  • NEW! “Next Steps” BB4B is an intermediate offering for those who have taken the class in the past and those looking for more of a challenge! Starting 07 April, Wednesdays for six (6) weeks – to get us to the warmer weather for more in-person offerings!

Summer 2021 – Get ready for OPEN AIR CLASSES! Stay tuned to this list and our Classes webpage for new offerings as soon as they are here.

What does Fall bring? Hopefully even more in-person classes. Virtual, too? We hope so! It has been wonderful to have you here from across the state and the country this year!

Non-BB4B offerings –

  • We highly recommend the Dance for PD classes! Take advantage of these joyful, artful offerings by company members of the famed Mark Morris Dance Company from NYC! Appropriate for ALL people, and created with those who have Parkinsons.
  • Check out YouTube! Really!
    • So many people have bumped up their virtual offerings…there are riches!
    • Simply type in the dance style you would like. Or search for “beginner [dance style]” or “simple [dance style]”.
    • For example, I found this WONDERFUL line dance (Jerusalema) and the channel it came from – “Beginner Dance Tutorials” – I love that the teacher says “it’s all about moving and having fun…if you are moving, you are doing it right!” 

I am going to steal this dance and use it in my next in-person offering!

We’d love to see you, or at least hear from you, soon!

Train with us this April!

Train with BB4B – Use our curriculum to Enrich your work or become an Instructor! 

We have redesigned the training process for BB4B!

We now have two tracks: Enrichment and Instructor.

Join us. Here’s the way.

  1. Try it out: Register for our 2-hour (2 CEUs/contact hours) Introduction to Ballroom Basics for Balance™ course. Virtual or (eventually, again) in-person. Enrichment or Instructor Track. Begin using the principles right away!
  2. Take our 7-hour (and CEU) Ballroom Basics for Balance™ Core Curriculum Training. Enrichment or Instructor Track. Integrate the curriculum into your practice or community! Virtual or (eventually, again) in-person.
  3. Instructor Track: Continue to Certification by completing a Practicum.
  4. We invite ALL to continue in community – sharing ideas, resources, and asking questions!

Next Ballroom Basics for Balance™ Core Curriculum Training is at the APTA – WI spring conference! It is all virtual. Professionals and students may register. Contact us for more information!

Stoughton Area Senior Center and BB4B

We were invited to present a Badger Talks Live about Ballroom Basics for Balance™ to the Stoughton Area Senior Center and community. We highlight what makes this class so fun and effective!

Thanks to Stoughton and to UW Connects for the opportunity to share our love with our community!

Keep dancing…

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Badger Talks Live & BB4B -Watch Now!

Susan was featured on Badger Talks Live recently. Listen, watch, and participate!

Enjoy an overview of the history & curriculum, test your balance and falls risk and try two dances!

Simply click HERE to see the talk and join in!

Susan has been invited to the Badger Talks community through her role as a guest lecturer at UW-Madison. Graduate students in the physical therapy and occupational therapy programs have always been an important – vital! –  part of BB4B.

Some private practitioners face difficult decision amidst pandemic

From NBC 15, April 2, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) — Some private practitioners who are not on the front lines of the pandemic are facing a difficult decision amidst the outbreak, with many wondering if they should continue serving clients, or close shop.

According to Governor Tony Evers’ Safer At Home order, “individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any Healthcare and Public Health Operations.” Included in those categories in the order are allied health providers, massage therapists, and chiropractors, among others.

Now, some of those private practitioners and other wellness providers deemed essential but not on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus are left juggling whether they owe it to their clients to be available for appointments, or whether they would rather close doors to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus.

“Is it moral to not help their patients, or should they not see people because they might transmit the virus, even unknowingly” said Susan Frikken, a physical therapist and massage therapist.

Frikken said that dilemma is being discussed among fellow private practitioners as they work through the ramifications of the coronavirus. While some are closing doors, others have found ways to continue to serve their clients in a way that is safe.

“I think there’s that struggle of these are peoples’ livelihoods, and if there’s a way that they feel they can do it safely, then they might explore that,” said Jamie Pekarek Krohn with Be Well Madison, a community of wellness providers. “And other people might be like no I just have to really step back and close my practice for now, and find new creative ideas to do, there’s still that ambiguity that’s out there.”

While those providers legally can stay open, Frikken said in following social distancing, it can be difficult for those whose fields require close proximity, if not physical touch, in treatments.

“I do a lot of what’s called manual therapy, so it’s a lot of hands on work with people,” said Frikken.

Now, Frikken said her business has largely come to a standstill.

“Unlike many of my colleagues in mainstream healthcare systems who are being repurposed now and moved away from their work to hospitals to help with the treatment and the screening, my business pretty much just stopped,” she said.

Before coronavirus caused her to suspend classes, Frikken was leading her program called Ballroom Basics for Balance, a course aimed at helping improve balance and prevent falls through dance.

While fields like Frikken’s may not be battling the pandemic, programs like her Ballroom Basics for Balance can prevent further injuries or falls from happening.

“Many of these people providing services that are so necessary right now and have clients that rely on these services for their wellness, whether it’s management or healing,” said Pekarek Krohn.

Now due to the virus, Frikken is providing online sessions when she can. However, in a field like physical therapy, virtual and verbal, rather than physical guidance, can be challenging.

“The weakest spot is probably the fact that a lot of people don’t have appropriate technology on their end, especially the older adults that I work with,” she said.

For other wellness providers, such as occupational therapists, telehealth can be a helpful substitute.

The choice to close doors, or a drop off in clients and loss of business, has led many to look for options to stay fiscally afloat.

“They’re connecting with the small business bureau and trying to get updated on loans that can happen, they’re talking with landlords how they can negotiate some rent, they’re stepping back and looking at their budgets in a whole different way,” said Pekarek Krohn.

In the meantime, Frikken said she will continue to do what she can to help clients virtually.

“I just want to keep people as well as possible until we can see each other again,” she said.

Disseminating Tai Chi in the Community: Promoting Home Practice and Improving Balance

Betty Chewning, PhD, Dale Wilson, MA, Jane E Mahoney, MD, Kristine M Hallisy, PT, DSc, Nisaratana Sangasubana, PhD, Ronald Gangnon, PhD 


Falls among older adults is a pressing public health challenge. Considerable research documents that longer tai chi courses can reduce falls and improve balance. However, longer courses can be challenging to implement. Our goal was to evaluate whether a short 6-week modified tai chi course could be effective at reducing falls risk if older adults designed a personal home practice plan to receive a greater tai chi “dose” during the 6 weeks.

Click here to read the full article

Library Provides Practice Music!

Madison Central Library partners, again, with BB4B! Guy Hankel, reference librarian and music selector*, will be providing music and books for participants in our downtown class (sponsored by the Madison Senior Center) each week, starting in 2020!  On Friday 13 December we ended class with a celebration, including a selection curated just for us.

Pairing the right music with dance movements will help us PRACTICE, which is crucial to improving balance.

Research shows that at least two hours per week of balance-specific activity is required to improve balance over six months and ongoing. Yes, forever! (Think of it like brushing your teeth – a good preventive health plan!)

Mr. Hankel will also provide books about the dances, their history, and more, to help enrich our learning.

Participants can check these out each week to make it easier to have fun preventing falls.

THANK YOU to the Madison Library system for its ongoing commitment to community programs like ours, and making access to the arts easy. Collaborative partnerships make this a rich, rewarding experience.

Here’s to 2020!

*Read more about the Yahara Music Library collection and how you can access music with local connections, HERE

Partnership with UW Legal Clinic

We would like to thank the University of Wisconsin Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, and especially law student Kaitlyn Wolfinger, for partnering with BB4B in 2019!

Community partnerships are the bedrock of BB4B, and we are deeply grateful for this one. 

The L&E Clinic provided expert legal advice to help us review and fine-tune our important documents and to advise us in best practices in order to provide excellent service to our participants, volunteers and new instructors.  

We are now able to train new instructors and license our curriculum to be used to spread this fun class to more locations! 

In addition, the UW L&E Clinic assisted us in organizing under the Madison-based 501(c)(3) Center for Community Stewardship, so that we may now enjoy the benefits of non-profit status! We have also applied to officially trademark our program.

More details to come! 

In Memory of Micah Wong

21 December 1994 - 22 March 2019

If you would like to share a memory or image of Micah, please leave a comment below, or send it to us and we will add it to this post. 

Micah Wong was part of our BB4B community, an Instructor who volunteered his time generously for three seasons. 

I had the joy of being in his orbit – what a sparkling one! I was anticipating seeing him and other BB4B volunteers (I think of them as my “kids”) as physical therapy students and partnering with him as one of his instructors in his PT program. 

We shared the sadness of not getting into school on our first try, and so I was especially excited and so proud when he — trying to contain his bursting joy and doing a terrible job of it! –announced that he had finally been accepted to the program. 

At his funeral on March 30th of this year, people of all kinds, all ages, from all aspects of his life were there by the hundreds to honor him. He has had an enormous impact on the world, already. 

We are creating this space to honor him. We knew him as JOY, EXUBERANCE, MISCHIEF, EXACTING and EXCELLENT, HELPFUL, KIND, THOUGHTFUL and more. Here are our thoughts and images.  

Here is my promise to live fully, with joy and kindness, with excellence and respect, in his honor. 

-Susan Frikken


Although I only knew Micah for under a year, it felt like we knew each other forever. He had such a special talent in making everybody around him feel loved, cared about, and always made the effort to cherish his friendships. He was so passionate about BB4B and the physical therapy profession, and his bubbly personality and positive attitude were always such a fun addition to BB4B classes. His positivity, goofiness, compassion, dedication, and outgoing nature is greatly missed at not only BB4B, but in my everyday life. Although he left too soon, I feel very lucky to have known him. I miss you, Micah.


This is the letter that Susan wrote in support of Micah’s application to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UW-Madison. 

Micah Letter of Recommendation 

“I do recall…a beautiful face and smile and I’m sure he was just as beautiful, if not more so, on the inside.” – BB4B participant

“…just seeing him with the students, he had such a pure, calming presence – a smile that put people’s heart at ease and a gentle touch on the back of a participant that conveyed such care.  In the way he moved with people, there was an unhurried attitude, a look in the eye to the person he was with, and a laugh.  He had such an evident gift of presence and attunement to others, he showed humility and kindness, simply by being it.”

– BB4B Instructor

The Association Between Timed Up and Go Test and History of Falls: The Tromsø Study

Gyrd Thrane, Ragnar M Joakimsen and Eline Thornquist


A relationship between TUG time and history of falls in men but not in women was determined. However, the clinical relevance of this associated is limited due to the relatively small statistical significance found between the results male fallers and non-fallers as well as the inconsistent results of falls questionnaires. The conclusion of the research was the TUG may not be used as a test of fall risk in an ambulatory elderly population.

Year study was published: 2018

Mean age of participants in study: 74-89 years

Click here to read the full article


Otago Exercise Program in the United States: Comparison of 2 Implementation Models

Tiffany E. Shubert, Matthew L. Smith, Lavina Goto, Luohua Jiang, Marcia G. Ory


Otago Exercise Program (OEP) is a fall prevention program that consists of 5 warm-up exercises and 17 strength and balance exercises, which are progressed over the course of the program. This program can be administered by a PT or other healthcare professional in a home health or outpatient setting (US OEP) or in a community based setting (community OEP). This study reports significant improvements in physical and self-reported measures in both US and community OEP. There were no significant differences in improvements of outcomes measures (TUG, 30-second chair rise test, and four-stage balance test) between community and US OEP; therefore, the less costly community OEP can achieve results similar to those achieved with US OEP – especially with Timed “Up & Go” as concluded by this study.

Year study was published: 2017

Mean age of participants in study: 80 years old

Click here to read the full article


Balance Confidence and Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Are Most Predictive of Falling in Older Adults: Prospective Analysis

Merrill R. Landers, Sarrie Oscar, Jessica Sasaoka, Kyle Vaughn


Physical-based measures (Berg Balance Scale, Sensory Organization Test, Timed “Up & Go”, and Dynamic Gait Index) as well as psychological-based measures (Falls Efficacy Scale, Activity Specific Balance Confidence Scale, and Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Questionnaire) were assessed during this study to determine which variable(s) were most predictive of falls in older adults. The results of this study concluded that balance confidence was the best predictor of falling, followed by fear of falling avoidance behavior, and the Time “Up & Go” (TUG). Fall history, presence of pathology, and physical tests did not predict falling. The study also concluded that psychological factors (balance confidence and fear avoidance) were stronger predictors of future falls than physical factors (gait, balance, visual acuity, etc.)

Year study was published: 2018

Mean age of participants in study: 72.2 years

Click here to read the full article


The Effectiveness of Dance Interventions to Improve Older Adults’ Health: A Systematic Literature Review

Phoebe Woei-Ni Hwang, MS; Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH


Physical inactivity is common in individuals over the age of 60. This systemic review was looking at the benefits of physical health using dance. The compiled results of 18 studies suggest dance, regardless of style (ballroom, jazz, contemporary, cultural, pop) can significantly improve muscular strength and endurance, balance, flexibility, and other aspects of functional fitness in older adults. These results show dance as a promising method for improving older adults’ physical health as it might address the barriers associated with older adults being physically active.

Year study was published: 2015

Mean age of participants in study: 76 years

Click here to read the full article


Effects of a Salsa Dance Training on Balance and Strength Performance in Older Adults

Urs Granacher, Thomas Muehlbauer, Stephanie A. Bridenbaugh, Madeleine Wolf, Ralf Roth, Yves Gschwind, Irene Wolf, Rui Mata, Reto W. Kressig


In this 8 week of progressive salsa dancing, researchers investigated the effects of salsa dancing on measures of static/dynamic postural control and leg extensor power in older adults. The researchers concluded this was a safe and feasible exercise program for older adults and there was a significant increase in stride velocity in the salsa group as compared to the control group; however, there were no significant changes in gait variability and muscle power of leg extensors. This was the first study that has investigated the impact of salsa dancing no intrinsic fall-risk factors (stride velocity and leg extensor power) in older adults.

Year study was published: 2012

Mean age of participants in study: 71.6 years

Click here to read the full article


Effects of Dance on Movement Control in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Argentine Tango and American Ballroom

Madeleine E. Hackney, BFA1 and Gammon M. Earhart, PhD, PT


American smooth waltz and foxtrot as well as Argentine tango lead to significant benefits with respect to balance, motor ability, and locomotion in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease who took part in 20 hours of partnered dance instruction. These improvements were correlated to the use of external cues (music or use of partner) as well as specific movements incorporated in the particular form of dance. This study concluded that although foxtrot and tango both lead to improvements, tango was slightly more beneficial with TUG and gait (helping with freezing of gait). This was attributed to the strategies taught during tango (visual cues such as tapping partners foot or crossing one foot over the other, rhythmic rocking, backwards walking, etc.).

Year article was published: 2009

Mean age of participants in study: 67 years old

Click here to read the full article


Physical Benefits of Dancing for Healthy Older Adults: A Review

Justin W.L. Keogh, Andrew Kilding, Philippa Pidgeon, Linda Ashley, and Dawn Gillis


Results of 18 studies in all concluded that dancing can significantly improve power, lower body muscle endurance, strength and flexibility, balance, agility, and gait in older adults. Although it was concluded with a lower level of evidence, it was also suggested that dancing might improve older adults’ lower body bone-mineral density content and muscle power, as well as reduce the prevalence of falls and cardiovascular health risks. There were no conclusions for different results based on type of dance or the difference in effectiveness of dance compared to other exercise modes.

Year study was published: 2009

Mean age of participants in study: 65 years old

Click here to read the full article


The Effectiveness of a Community-Based Program for Reducing the Incidence of Falls in the Elderly: A Randomized Trial

Lindy Clemson, BAppSc(OT), MAppSc(OT), PhD, Robert G. Cumming, MBBS, MPH, PhD,zk Hal and Kendig, Kirsty Taylor, MPI, PhD, BA(Psych), Megan Swann, BAppSc(OT),z Robert Heard, BA(Hons), PhD,w

Summary: This 14 month randomized trial concluded Stepping On (a multifaceted community-based program using a small-group learning environment which aims to improve fall self-efficacy, encourage behavioral change, and reduce falls all together) was effective for reducing falls in communityresiding elderly people. This was demonstrated by the Stepping On group experienced a 31% reduction in falls. The Stepping On program was determined to be especially effective for men.

Year study was published: 2004

Mean age of participants in study: 78 years old

Click here to read the full article


Factors Contributing to Single- and Dual-Task Timed “Up & Go” Test Performance in Middle-Aged and Older Adults Who Are Active and Dwell in the Community

Hui-Ya Chen, Pei-Fang Tang

H-Y. Chen, PT, PhD, School of Physical Therapy, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Tai- wan, and Physical Therapy Room


When comparing the factors that contribute to performance on the single- and dual-task (serial subtraction or carrying water) TUG tests in 64 participants the following factors were found to be associated with better performance on all TUG tests (single- and dual-task): younger age, hip extensor weakness, walking speed, general mental function, and Stroop scores for word and color. However, factors contributing to solely to dual-task TUG were influenced by age and focused attention, specifically for carrying water and serial subtraction, respectively. These results suggest the importance of the combined use of the 3 TUG tests.

Year study was published: 2015

Mean age of participants in study: 71.6 years old

Click here to read the full article


The Effect of Ballroom Dance on Balance and Functional Autonomy Among the Isolated Elderly

Eliane Gomes da Silva Borges a,b,c,*, Sama ́ria Ali Cader b,c,d, Rodrigo Gomes de Souza Vale b,c, Thales Henrique Pires Cruz b,c, Mauro Cezar de Gurgel de Alencar Carvalho b,c, Francisco Miguel Pinto b,c, Este ́lio H.M. Dantas b,c


In this study based out of Brazil, 39/75 individuals from three long-term institutions participated in a 50 min Ballroom Dance Program that incorporated rumba, swing, samba, and bolero and took place 3 times a week. The control group (36/75 individuals) maintained their normal daily activities. These individuals were evaluated using the Latin American Group for Maturity (GDLAM) protocol to assess functional autonomy and the stabiolometer to assess physical balance. The results of this study concluded the ballroom dance program led to an increase in the level of functional autonomy and in physical balance.

Year study was published: 2012

Mean age of participants in study: 77 years old

Click here to read the full article


Investigating the Acute Effect of an Aerobic Dance Exercise Program on Neuro-Cognitive Function in the Elderly

Ken Kimura, Noriko Hozumi 

Summary: This study was comparing two types of aerobic dance exercises: a workout that consisted of several patterns of movement vs. a workout consisting of similar patterns of movement, but the patterns were joined to forma long choreographic routine/dance. The results of this study concluded that the executive cognitive network was facilitated in the choreographic routine workout due to the complex motor functions with a dual-task nature used in this workout group. The choreographic routine seems to improve actions that facilitate attentional control and even memory processes.

Year study was published: 2012

Mean age of participants in study: 70.7 years old

Click here to read the full article


Therapeutic Dancing for Parkinson’s Disease

Lorenna Pryscia Carvalho Aguiar*, Priscila Alves da Rocha, Meg Morris


This systematic review found that therapeutic dancing in general was found to be beneficial for improving motor performance, mobility and balance in people with Parkinson’s Disease. Although this study didn’t find details related to specific forms of dance, they did find and overall short-term improvement in freezing of gait (FOG), walking performance, and wellbeing in some individuals. ‘

Year study was published: 2016

Mean age of participants in study: 66.5 years old

Click here to read full article


Effects of Dancing on the Risk of Falling Related Factors of Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review

Esther Lopez Fernandez-Arguelles, Juan Rodriguez-Mansilla, Luis Espejo Antunez,  Elisa Maria Garrido-Ardila, Rafael Perez Munoz


This article compiled data from 7 articles to determine the therapeutic effects of dancing as a physical exercise modality on balance, flexibility, gait, muscle strength, and physical performance in older adults. These studies did show positive effects on reducing the risk of falls in relation to improved balance, gait and dynamic mobility, strength and flexibility; however, they were unable to confirm that dance has significant benefits on the aforementioned factors based on scientific evidence due to problems with study designs.

Year study was published: 2015

Mean age of participants in study: 72 years old

Click here to read the full article


Dancing or Fitness Sport? The Effects of Two Training Programs on Hippocampal Plasticity and Balance Abilities in Healthy Seniors

Kathrin Rehfeld1, Patrick Müller1, Norman Aye, Marlen Schmicker,
Milos Dordevic1, Jörn Kaufmann, Anita Hökelmann and Notger G. Müller


Dancing combines aerobic fitness, sensorimotor skills, and cognitive demands while maintaining a low risk of injury. In this study, an 18-month dancing intervention was compared to traditional health fitness training. Researchers were looking for both volume increases in the hippocampus, a region of the brain crucial for memory consolidation, learning and navigation in space, as well as improvements in balance. While both the dancing group and traditional fitness group both showed volume increases in the hippocampus, the dancing group showed increases in more areas of the hippocampus as well as significant increase in the balance score. From these results the researchers concluded dancing seems to be a promising intervention for both improving balance and hippocampal structure in the elderly.

Year study was published: 2017

Mean age of participants in study: 68 years old

Click here to read the full article


Evidence-Based Exercise Prescription for Balance and Falls Prevention: A Current Review of the Literature

by Tiffany E. Shubert, MPT, PhD


The current best practices for physical therapists to effectively improve balance and manage fall risk in patients are those that incorporate a structured, progressing, individually tailored exercise program that meets the optimal exercise dose. These interventions need to continue even after discharge from physical therapy and therefore a continuum of care approach is needed in order to maintain progress, continue to improve upon their abilities, sustain meaningful and permanent changes in risk factors, and ultimately reduce falls risk.

Year study was published: 2011

Mean age of participants in study: N/A

Click here to read the full article


Exercise to Prevent Falls in Older Adults: An Updated Meta-Analysis and Best Practice Recommendations

by Catherine Sherrington, Anne Tiedemann, Nicola Fairhall, Jacqueline C.T. Close and Stephen R. Lord


This updated systematic review compiled data from 99 comparisons from 88 randomized controlled trials, totaling 19,478 participants, looking at exercise as a single intervention to prevent falls. They concluded that exercise for falls prevention at least three (3) hours per week showed the greatest effects and should be targeted at both the general community as well as those at high risk of falls and may occur in both a group or home-based setting. The exercise programs should include: moderate to high challenges to balance as well as strength training, a sufficient dose of exercise, exercise needs to be ongoing, and should include a brisk walking training, unless they are a high risk falls individual.

Year study was published: 2017

Mean age of participants in study: 65+ years old

Click here to read the full article

Can Social Dancing Prevent Falls in Older Adults? A Protocol of the Dance, Aging, Cognition, Economics (DAnCE) Fall Prevention Randomized Controlled Trial

by Dafna Merom, Robert Cumming, Erin Mathieu, Kaarin J Anstey, Chris Rissel, Judy M Simpson, Rachael L Morton, Ester Cerin, Catherine Sherrington and Stephen R Lord


In this Australian study they are determining whether participation in social dancing will: reduce the number of falls and improve cognitive functions associated with fall risk in older people. Participants in the study completed 80 hours of dance classes (either Folk or ballroom dancing) during a 12 month period – classes were an hour long and met twice a week. The researchers concluded dance offers a novel approach to balance training and offers greater social engagement, which is a major contribution to healthy aging.

Year study was published: 2013

Mean age of participants in study: ??

Click here to read the full article

Balance Confidence and Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Are Most Predictive of Falling in Older Adults

by Merrill R. Landers, Sarrie Oscar, Jessica Sasoka & Kyle Vaughn


Physical-based measures (Berg Balance Scale, Sensory Organization Test, Timed “Up & Go”, and Dynamic Gait Index) as well as psychological-based measures (Falls Efficacy Scale, Activity Specific Balance Confidence Scale, and Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Questionnaire) were assessed during this study to determine which variable(s) were most predictive of falls in older adults. The results of this study concluded that balance confidence was the best predictor of falling, followed by fear of falling avoidance behavior, and the Time “Up & Go” (TUG). Fall history, presence of pathology, and physical tests did not predict falling. The study also concluded that psychological factors (balance confidence and fear avoidance) were stronger predictors of future falls than physical factors (gait, balance, visual acuity, etc.)

Year study was published: 2018

Mean age of participants in study: 72.2 years

Click here to read the full article

Ballroom Dance: Linking Serious Leisure to Successful Aging

by Regena G. Stevens-Ratchford


This qualitative research design explored stories of ballroom dance participants to gain an understanding of the participants’ experiences and the relation between ballroom dance and successful aging using the Successful Aging Profile (SAP). The mean years of dancing experience was 38 years including engagement in waltz, fox trot, swing, tango, rumba, samba, salsa, and cha-cha. Researchers found that the sample they interviewed all reported positive successful aging including high function and positive well-being. The main aspect of ballroom dance that fosters successful aging is the inclusion of physical activity that these individuals are interested in.

Year study was published: 2016

Mean age of participants in study: 68 years old

Click here to read the full article