A Word In Your Ear - March 7, 2016

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IT didn’t come as a surprise to us at Edmonds Towers that BBC television’s How To Stay Young, starting tonightat nine, found dancing beat the gym every time for health and fitness.

She Who Knows takes me in her arms for a couple of hours, two or three times a week, at some of the many dance sessions to be enjoyed along our entertaining coast. There’s everything on offer, from the Argentine Tango to Lindy Hop, at local halls and hotels, all for the price of a creamy coffee at trendy health clubs. This ambitious series stars former newsreader Angela Rippon. The long-legged septuagenarian takes part in in a German study comparing benefits from dancing versus a gym workout. Dancing reportedly won every time. It improves aerobic capacity (especially a quick-step), balance (rumba turns) and spacial awareness (graceful foxtrots). The need to remember all those different steps also exercises vital parts of the brain.

After a few years of ballroom and jive we now enjoy social sequence dancing, where couples all do similar dance routines at the same time. Often there is professional keyboard music as well as CDs, while dances range from hectic cha-chas to silky waltzes.

Since taking up sequence about a year ago, She Who Knows and I have learned more than 30 dances via YouTube’s free tutorials. Our outings are also pleasant social occasions, once you’ve learned those routines and stopped fretting too much about putting a foot wrong.

“Making mistakes is where the fun starts!” advised veteran dancer Stan, when we first started attending a St Annes session. The presence of many nimble 80-year-olds, including couples celebrating diamond weddings, spoke volumes.

As well as the usual diet and drinking advice, How To Stay Young recommends simple ‘remedies’ like playing ping-pong, walking the dog and taking up a musical instrument.

All music to our ears!

* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.