Dance intervention effects on physical function in healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2021 Feb;33(2):253-263. doi: 10.1007/s40520-019-01440-y. Epub 2020 Jan 1.


Background and objective: Dancing is a form of physical exercise associated with health benefits in older adults. Regular dancing can prolong healthy aging, maintain or even improve physical function, and thus enhance their quality of life. The aim of this review was to evaluate the effects of dance intervention on physical function performance in healthy older adults in randomized-controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods: Five electronic databases (Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science) were searched systematically until the end of June 2018 by two independent reviewers. These searches were limited to the English language and persons with average age older than 65. The tool from the Cochrane Collaboration was used to assess the risk of bias. A standard meta-analysis was performed using Review Manager Software version 5.3.

Results: Thirteen RCTs from a total of 1029 older participants were included in this meta-analysis. The results showed that dance intervention significantly improved mobility function and endurance performance when compared with control groups for healthy older adults. However, gait was not significantly improved through dancing. Studies included in this review were not enough to perform meta-analysis for the effectiveness of dance on balance and general health in healthy older adults.

Conclusion: Overall, dance intervention was effective to improve physical function performance in healthy older adults. The results from this meta-analysis strengthen the evidence from previous individual studies. Properly organized dance intervention would be a safe and effective exercise to incorporate into daily life.

Keywords: Dance intervention; Healthy older adults; Meta-analysis; Physical function; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise*
  • Gait
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Physical Functional Performance