When watching today’s video of Cornel and Rithika dancing bachata sensual, you would be forgiven for thinking that bachata is exclusively for the young and very attractive. But this isn’t actually the case! There is definitely a place in bachata for older people and, in fact, learning bachata can do wonders for taking care of your health and fitness.

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We all know that staying active in our later years is vital for maintaining our physical health and for staving off any cognitive decline. Dancing, in particular, really hits all of those points. It is a wonderful cardio activity that can maintain and improve heart health. It is also an activity that improves joint flexibility, posture, and strength, all of which can promote mobility and reduce the chance of falling.

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In terms of cognitive ability, dancing requires learning sequences of movements. Keeping the brain active by challenging it is important for continuing cognitive health. Bachata and other social dances, in particular, require a navigation of dancing with someone else, watching out for cues, and modifying step sequences on the fly, so it is especially helpful for maintaining cognitive health.

One study examined Latin dancing and how it can improve the activity levels and health of older adults. The researchers developed a specialised dance program, called BAILAMOS that integrates bachata, merengue, salsa, and cha cha cha. The participants were Latino older adults with an average age of 65 who led sedentary lifestyles. They were split into two groups. One group took part in the BAILAMOS program twice a week for four months. The other group attended health education classes during the same timeslots.

The activity levels of both groups improved, but this was more pronounced for the BAILAMOS group. Activity activity went up to 818 minutes per week for the BAILAMOS group compared to 628 minutes for the health education group. In terms of health measurements, both groups were tasked with completing a 400-meter walk at the end of the study. The BAILAMOS group completed it in 392 seconds and the health education group completed it in 409 seconds.

So what can we learn from this? Firstly, older adults are more than capable of learning Latin dancing, including bachata. Secondly, doing so can jump start your activity levels and improve your health and fitness levels. And there are plenty of dance classes available and open to older adults. If you’re on the fence about giving it a go, let this be your motivation to jump right in and give it a go.

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