Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the impact of jazz dance class instruction on balance, cognition, and mood (specifically depression) in 13 healthy, community-dwelling, English-speaking older women with a mean age of 68.
Data sources: Data were collected using self-report questionnaires (Folstein Mini Mental Status Examination [MMSE] and Geriatric Depression Scale [GDS]), and the sensory organization test (SOT) for balance measurements (using the NeuroCom Smart Balance Master) was performed at three time periods in the study: time 1: between week 1 and week 2 of jazz class (baseline), time 2: between week 8 and week 9 of jazz class (midpoint), and time 3: after week 15 of jazz class (final measurement).
Conclusions: Differences in mean MMSE and GDS scores over time were not significant; however, SOT scores showed an increasing trend (p < .001). Data analysis using analysis of variance with repeated measures showed that balance measures improved throughout the duration of the study (F(2,10)= 19.68, p < .001). Post hoc analyses using paired t tests with a Bonferroni correction indicated that significant increases in balance occurred from time 1 to time 2 and from time 2 to time 3. These preliminary pilot study findings suggest that jazz dance does not impact cognition or mood but may improve balance in older women. This finding may have significant implications for fall prevention in the postmenopausal population.
Implications for practice: Because falls are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults of both genders, research is needed to evaluate both the impact of jazz dance on balance in older men and jazz dance as a fall prevention strategy in aging adults. Additionally, longitudinal research with a larger sample size is needed to test the effectiveness of jazz dance as a strategy for improving balance, cognition, and mood.