Dancing has benefits for postmenopausal women, study finds

Science says that dancing can not only help postmenopausal women stay fit but it can promote body positivity too

Postmenopausal women take up dance to build on self esteem
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are many ways to tackle the challenges that the menopause brings, but one new study suggests that dancing can be a useful tool in a woman's post-menopausal arsenal - helping to improve important markers including cholesterol, physical fitness and self-esteem.

As we age and our bodies change we want to stay in the best shape and mindset possible. For postmenopausal women, many turn to the best menopause supplements, which can be a useful approach in managing various menopause symptoms. However, for many finding the right menopause exercise routine is just as important - and it turns out that dancing can play a big part in this.

Research has previously proven that dancing helps with body composition and overall functional fitness for postmenopausal women. Now it has been proven that dancing three times a week has the potential to help shape how postmenopausal women feel about their bodies. 

A sample of women who attended dance class three times a week found that the activity promoted positive results in their lipid profile and functional fitness while better influencing the way they perceive their bodies. The study carried out by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reports that ‘dancing improves cholesterol levels, physical fitness, self-image, and self-esteem in postmenopausal women.' 

The menopause marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, typically occurring between the age of 45-55. The experience often can result in menopausal weight gain and additional health issues related to this. This inevitably can affect how women view their bodies. It's why continuing (or even beginning) to exercise over 50 - and finding ways to adapt to our changing bodies - is so important.

Exercising can feel very different from what the younger body once felt like and this is why we have a guide on the best activities to do - and what to avoid for over 50s. We recommend avoiding long periods of inactivity to prevent rapid tissue deterioration, and dancing could be just the thing. 

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, acting medical director at NAMS, said: “This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of comradery from the shared experience of learning something new.”

The activity which some are referring to as ‘dance therapy’ presents a very low risk of injury and is multi beneficial in improving posture, balance, strength and gait. Dancing is a pretty accessible activity and can be easily modified for all shapes and sizes. Moving around regularly will keep you fit but perhaps most importantly will leave women feeling good about their postmenopausal body.

If you feel inspired to try dance classes then we have a guide on the best sport bras which will maintain support for you while having a boogie.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.