Dancing With the Cardiologists at Windham Hospital
WILLIMANTIC, CT, February 18, 2008 – Those contestants on television’s “Dancing with the Stars” have more than just sexy outfits and big smiles going for them. They’re also engaging in a heart-healthy activity that’s comparable to other forms of exercise. Studies over the past ten years have indicated that social dancers breathe better, spend more time exercising, and enjoy better health overall. On Friday, February 29th, the cardiology team at Windham Hospital will host “Dancing with the Cardiologists” – an evening of dance demonstrations, courtesy of Maria’s Studio of Dance in Canterbury, dancing, and heart-healthy refreshments, sponsored by AstraZeneca International. The event takes place from 5 to 7 pm in the Hospital’s Hatch Wing.
Organizer Jane Diaz, RN, says, “This will be a lot of fun for everyone, and we are definitely looking forward to some great dancing!” Diaz is the cardiac rehab coordinator at Windham Hospital, and decided to produce the event to coincide with American Heart Month. Joining in the festivities will be Doctors Anthea Woodley, Mark Fisherkeller, and Abdul Alkeylani—the cardiologists of Windham Hospital—and the evening’s featured demonstration teams from Maria’s School of Dance in Canterbury.
According to the studies, there are a number of benefits that can be attributed to dancing. These benefits include:
- Joint mobility. Dance movements are multi-directional versus the straight forward motion on treadmills, ellipticals, Stairmasters etc. One study demonstrated improved range of hip motion and flexibility of the spine on young adults who followed a three-month program of dance training.
- Improved bone density. Dance movements are weight-bearing and varied – an important distinction for maintaining or improving bone density. Studies of recreational ballet dancers between the ages of 8-14 show higher bone mineral content in their hips and spine than in girls who did not dance.
- Greater balance, agility and dexterity. Dance requires agility and balance as well as various speeds of movement, skills that are generally not a focus of typical gym workouts. Studies of older populations who engage in dance-based exercise programs demonstrate improvement in balance and agility. This may be important in reducing risks of falls in this population.
- Mental stimulation. Dance requires focus on coordination and learning movement patterns. Most people will read, listen to music, or watch TV to alleviate the boredom associated with most indoor exercise equipment. Dance requires being mentally engaged with physical movement, a constant mind-body connection.
- Emotional stimulation. Emotional responses are common in dance and would rarely occur in a gym workout. The music, movement patterns and mental engagement involved in dance often evoke emotions. One study showed that breast cancer survivors who participated in a 12-week dance and movement program not only improved their shoulder range of motion but showed improvements in measures of body image and quality of life.
- And finally, cardiovascular stimulation. Dance can serve as a substitute for a cardiovascular gym workout. Depending on the type of dance, dance can be an excellent cardiovascular workout, and provides many of the same health benefits associated with any form of activity that involves sustained effort in the target heart rate zone such as improved cardiovascular function, lipid metabolism, endurance and body composition.
Join the Windham Hospital cardiology team for an evening of Dancing with the Cardiologists, Friday, February 29th, 5-7 pm in the Hatch Wing of the Hospital. Shuttle service will be provided from the upper parking lots. and handicapped parking is available at the Hatch entrance. Donations to benefit the Cardiac Rehab Program are optional; everyone is welcome to attend! For more information, contact Jane Diaz, RN, at 456-6103.