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Effect Of A Community-Based Argentine Tango Dance Program On Functional Balance And Confidence In Older Adults

Patricia McKinley, Allison Jacobson, Alain Leroux, Victoria Bednarczyk, Michel Rossignol, Joyce Fung

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Tango-dancing and walking programs are compared in nondemented seniors at risk for falls. Fallers (N= 30) age 62–91 were randomly assigned to a 10-wk (40 hr, 2 hr 2×/wk) tango class or walk group. The Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, sit-to-stand scores, and normal and fast walk were measured pre-, post-, and 1 month postintervention. Two-way repeated-measures ANOVAs indicated a significant main effect (p< .01) for time on all measures. Group and interaction effects for ABC led to improvement only in tango because of high baseline mean for the walk group. Clinical improvements measured using Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly scoring were greater for the tango group. From these preliminary results it is suggested that although both interventions are effective activities for increasing strength and walk speed, tango might result in greater improvements than walking in balance skills and in walking speed in the 10-wk intervention. The study needs to be repeated with a greater sample size to determine the effectiveness of walking on fear of falling.