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U.S. News & World Report: Study Finds Dancing Helps Seniors Avoid Falls

U.S. News & World Report recently published an interview with Cedars-Sinai geriatrician Allison Moser Mays, MD, MAS, about how physical activity can reduce falls in older adults.

Mays leads an ongoing Cedars-Sinai study that is investigating whether group workout classes can help seniors avoid falls while also reducing loneliness and social isolation. Supported by a three-year grant from the AARP Foundation, the Leveraging Exercise to Age in Place (LEAP) program has partnered with community groups to offer courses in arthritis exercise, advanced fitness and tai chi at no charge to more than 450 older adults. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the workouts have been hosted online.

Falls are the leading cause of accidental death and injury in people over 65, Mays said in the U.S. News & World Report article, which originally was covered by HealthDay. Causes include reaction times slowed by aging, vision changes that affect balance, blood pressure changes and medication side effects.

"Falls are not normal, even in older adults," Mays said. "It always should deserve a conversation with your physician."

Regular exercise is the best tool for preventing falls, Mays said in the article. She recommended walking for beginners and online classes designed for seniors so this high-risk population can stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Choosing a fun activity can be good motivation, Mays said, commenting on a recent study from Swiss researchers that showed dance classes could help seniors avoid falls.

"Not everyone wants to do a traditional exercise class, and so if you can get benefits from flamenco, then that's wonderful. It provides more options, more evidence behind different activities that are going to benefit our patients," Mays said. "I was very pleased to see that we're building evidence around dance and other fun activities as a way to help older adults prevent falls."

Click here to read the complete article from U.S. News & World Report.