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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 176709, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/176709
Research Article

Balance, Sensorimotor, and Cognitive Performance in Long-Year Expert Senior Ballroom Dancers

1Neural Plasticity Lab, Institute for Neuroinformatics, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
2Department of Neurology, BG-Kliniken Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44789 Bochum, Germany

Received 5 May 2011; Revised 7 July 2011; Accepted 28 July 2011

Academic Editor: William J. Hoyer

Copyright © 2011 Jan-Christoph Kattenstroth et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Physical fitness is considered a major factor contributing to the maintenance of independent living and everyday competence. In line with this notion, it has been shown that several years of amateur dancing experience can exert beneficial effects not only on balance and posture but also on tactile, motor, and cognitive functions in older people. This raises the question of whether an even more extensive schedule of dancing, including competitive tournaments, would further enhance these positive effects. We therefore assessed posture, balance, and reaction times, as well as motor, tactile, and cognitive performance in older expert ballroom dancers with several years of competitive experience. We found substantially better performance in the expert group than in the controls in terms of expertise-related domains like posture, balance, and reaction times. However, there was no generalization of positive effects to those domains that were found to be improved in amateur dancers, such as tactile and cognitive performance, suggesting that there might be an optimal range of intervention intensity to maintain health and independence throughout the human lifespan.