Using dance to improve executive funcitoning [i.e. functioning] in older adults

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deborah Kalnen Kemp (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Karen Daniels

Abstract: Can age-related declines in cognition be reversed? Previous research has used two fundamentally different approaches for addressing this theoretical question, mentally stimulating activities and aerobic exercise. The current study extends this prior research by combining these two approaches through the use of aerobic dance with steps of varying cognitive difficulty. The cognitive performance of three groups of older adults was measured before and after engaging in six weekly dance classes. One group completed an aerobic dance class with simple steps intended to create little cognitive demand. A second group completed an aerobic dance class involving more complex, cognitively challenging choreography. A final group did not receive any dance training between pre- and post-testing. It was hypothesized that the two dance groups would show more gain than the no-dance group with the most gain observed for participants in the cognitively challenging dance class given its combination of mental and physical exercise. Neither of these hypotheses was supported. Both methodological and theoretical explanations for this failure to find training gains are discussed.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Dance therapy for older people, Exercise therapy for older people, Older people--Rehabilitation, Exercise for older people
Exercise therapy for older people
Dance therapy for older people
Exercise for older people
Older people -- Rehabilitation

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