Scottish country dance: benefits to functional ability in older women

J Aging Phys Act. 2014 Jan;22(1):146-53. doi: 10.1123/japa.2012-0234. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


The effects of long-term participation in Scottish country dance on body composition, functional ability, and balance in healthy older females were examined. Participants were grouped into dancers and physically active nondancers (ages 60-70 and 70-80 for both groups). Physical activity, body composition (body-mass index, skinfold thickness, waist-to-hip ratio), functional ability (6-min walk distance, 6-m walk time, 8-ft up-and-go time, lower body flexibility, shoulder flexibility), and static balance were measured. Younger dancers and physically active nondancers had similar 6-min walk distance, 6-m walk time, and 8-ft up-and-go time results; however, while older dancers performed similarly to younger dancers, older physically active nondancers performed poorer than their younger counterparts (p < .05). Body composition and static balance were the same for all groups. Regular physical activity can maintain body composition and postural stability with advancing age; however, Scottish country dance can delay the effects of aging on locomotion-related functional abilities.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging* / ethnology
  • Aging* / physiology
  • Aging* / psychology
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dancing / physiology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Physical Fitness* / physiology
  • Physical Fitness* / psychology
  • Postural Balance
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Research Design
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Time
  • Waist-Hip Ratio