According to the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, elderly people with heart failure can improve their jumping ability as a result of Greek dancing! Findings from a randomized controlled study revealed that patients who participated in Greek dancing jumped higher and fast than sedentary participants. Also, participants that took part in Greek dancing were able to walk further and had stronger legs.
Greek dancing is an important tradition that is seen at many weddings and other special occasions. Greek dancing is especially popular amongst older generations, according to Zacharias Vordos (an exercise psychologist). He went on to explain that activities such as Greek dancing would make rehabilitation programs more appealing for patients with experiences of chronic heart failure. This is the first time that research has been conducted into the relationship between Greek dancing and jumping ability.
A total of 40 Greek people participated in the study, all of which with patients with chronic heart disease. Participants were randomly assigned to a rehabilitation program that lasted three months and centered on changing their sedentary behavior and taking up Greek dancing instead. Participants endured three sessions per week, lasting between 40-65 minutes of exercise. The average age of participants was 73 years old. None of the participants had engaged in physical activity over the last year.
Participants' jumping ability was recorded at the start and end of the experiment by using a Myotest-Pro dynamometer. Jump height, strength, the speed of jumps and the amount of time that participants' feet touched the ground were all recorded accurately. Researchers used both visible signals and audible alarms to ensure fairness of all participants, including those that were hard of hearing, inform members when to jump.
A leg-chest dynamometer was used to calculate leg muscle strength. A six-minute walking test was also used to verify participants' leg muscle endurance.
Pre-experimental tests showed that there were no differences in measurements between the groups. However, three months later, results showed that those who participated in Greek dancing jumped faster and higher than the patients that were sedentary. The Greek dancing group could also walk further and had stronger legs than the other group.
Interestingly, researchers found that those who Greek danced had improved leg strength and endurance by 10% at the end of the study compared to the initial measurements. However, those in the sedentary group showed no change in measurements when comparing their initial and final measurement figures.
Mr. Vodos concluded that the research illustrates how Greek dancing improves endurance, strength and jumping ability in heart failure patients. Those that engaged in Greek dancing were able to jump higher at the end of the program, most likely because they had developed stronger leg muscles.
He also went on to explain that patients could reap daily benefits of Greek dancing such as walking and climbing stairs that ensure they can live independently. Moreover, the program should reduce patients' risk of being injured due to falling as their coordination can improve. It is possible that Greek dancing can offer similar benefits to that of Zumba fitness.
Lastly, more than 90% of participants attended the Greek dancing sessions. A high attendance rate indicates that such a type of cardiac rehabilitation could be more appealing than generic methods. Not only is Greek dancing a sociable and enjoyable activity, but it can also result in significant health benefits for those with chronic heart failure.