We ask people about how they keep healthy and well, whether they have dementia or not. This issue, we hear about the pleasures of dance.
Marion Roberts, Rutland
Attending Zumba classes has helped improve my mobility, concentration and my memory! I go at least twice if not three times a week. It was to help with weight loss initially (I’ve lost almost five stone in about a year). Now it’s great therapy and brilliant fun.
I’m more fit now than I was when I was in my 50s and my mindset is much better.
I’ve made good and lasting friendships, and it’s helping improve my co-ordination and memory.
Gill Lewis, 57, Cheshire
I enjoy dance lessons followed by freestyle dancing once weekly. It’s a very sociable way to spend an evening, away from the television!
Some people give lifts to others who can’t get to the dance halls by themselves. I dance with a variety of male and female partners, we all respect each other and any new members are warmly welcomed.
I make sure I get the evening meal prepared earlier in the day for the family so I can get ready and be at the club on time.
Dancing encourages communication, co-ordination, fitness, movement – some steps are quite intricate and can make me a little out of breath. I love keeping fit, and dance is my favourite pastime.
Donald Herbison-Evans, 82
I go to afternoon tea dances, evening dance classes and practice sessions two or three times a week. Dancing is fun, a physical celebration of being alive.
It’s good for moving, thinking and socialising. I wear specially made orthotic dance shoes.
I’m still pretty healthy so far – I can dance every dance they played in a five-hour session at Blackpool Tower Ballroom on a trip we took there a few months ago.
Soraya Latif, 53, London
I’ve really loved doing 1940s jive, which is a fast partner dance. Firstly I went to lessons, then clubs that ran once a week in venues all over London. I soon found out that the people who taught me were starting an annual three-day event, with vintage music and clothes, so I went to these too for years.
I was still dancing three weeks before my son was born, so never let anything stop me!
The photo was taken at a dancing weekender with Miles (now 18). I took him with me when I went with friends who also all had children. When I was dancing five times a week, I was probably the fittest I have ever been.
Susan Piper, Hampshire
Morris dancing is a great activity – you make friends, go to all sorts of events to perform, uphold tradition and get fit at the same time.
We meet weekly for practice in the winter and mostly dance at festivals, pubs and events in the summer with the rest of the side.
When my children were young sometimes I had to arrange childcare, but Morris is very inclusive and family friendly.
Watching other people doing it got me to start and learning new dances, meeting new people and having fun keeps me doing it.
Some things, like your age and genes, affect your chance of developing dementia but you can’t change them. Things you can change? Keep your mind and body active, enjoy healthier food, don’t smoke, drink less alcohol, stay in touch with people, and deal with any health problems.
If you already have dementia, the same things can help you to stay healthy and well – see our inspiration and tips to get active in ways that suit you.
NHS Live Well has health and wellbeing advice for everyone.
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