Get the Rhythm - Music Therapy Improves Balance, Reduces Falls
Posted Jan 17 2011 9:00am
According to Swiss researchers, taking part in classes that involve music and rhythmic exercise may improve the balance and walking skills and reduce the number of falls for older adults.
More than 130 seniors were tested in walking and balance skills after taking part in a music-education program called Dalcroze eurhythmics. Participants, all of whom had a history of problems with falls, fell fewer times over the test period.
Greater improvements occurred in the test group that took the class once a week for six months. The program involves free-form movement to improvised piano music and gradually adds other elements of movement and manipulation.
Study participants continued to show improvement in balance and walking ability six months after the study ended. The findings suggest that social dancing or other activities that challenge balance and require continuous adjustments to the environment could have a positive effect on older adults.