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5 ways to start dancing after 50

Last updated 22nd August 2023

3 min read

Dancing has been proven to have plenty of health benefits – including lowering blood pressure, improving balance, and boosting social relationships.

According to The British Heart Foundation, dancing stimulates the brain( opens in a new tab) as well as the body, and is also linked to a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

So if you want to try dancing at 50 or beyond, here are some quick tips on how to get started.

Chat to your GP if you have any concerns before taking up dancing.

1. Start small

With any new hobby, you have to start somewhere. And to help prevent injury, it’s best to start small. For example, you could try following a 10-minute samba video for beginners on YouTube. Then, when you’ve built up some strength and confidence, you could try a local class.

Remember, you don’t need to pay for classes or have fancy equipment to start dancing. A pair of trainers and your living room or garden will do.

2. Improvise and explore

Not sure what type of dancing you’d like to take up? Try putting on some music at home and simply dancing however you like. As long as you enjoy it and you’re not pushing yourself too hard, this is the perfect way to get started.

YouTube and social media platforms are also great for discovering different types of dancing. Here’s just a small number of the many dance forms you can explore:

  • Ballet – An elegant, formal dance usually set to classical music. Don’t be put off by the complex ballets you may have seen before – there are plenty of videos and classes tailored to beginners.
  • Ballroom – Done with a partner, ballroom covers lots of different types of dancing, including the bolero, foxtrot, tango and waltz.
  • Flamenco – A passionate Spanish dance that mixes footwork with hand, arm and body movements to express emotion.
  • Jazz – Like ballroom, jazz includes lots of different styles of dancing, including the Charleston, Lindy Hop and swing. A good choice if you like to be a bit freer with your dance moves.
  • Salsa – Salsa is an energetic Latin dance in which you dance with multiple people. This means you can usually go to a class solo and still be guaranteed dancing partners.
  • Tap – A type of dance where you ‘tap’ your shoes on the floor. It’s often performed in musical theatre, but can also be practised solo if you prefer.

Seated and wheelchair dancing

If you struggle with your balance or mobility, you could try seated dancing( opens in a new tab) or wheelchair dancing( opens in a new tab). It’s more accessible because you dance from the comfort of your chair – and you still get great health benefits.

3. Set your dancing goal

Sometimes it helps to have a goal to work towards. This can be as small as improving your balance by standing on one leg, or mastering a simple two-step. Reaching your goal by practicing it often can be really fun, and brings a great sense of achievement.

Not sure what goal to set? Trying a beginner’s dance class could be the perfect inspiration…

4. Get friends involved – or make new ones

If you have a willing friend, why not take them to a beginner’s dance class? Having someone with you can be a big support, and you can go at a pace that suits both of you.

Another benefit of dance classes is making new friends. If you join a class on your own, you’re bound to meet lots of people. Look around in your local area to find a group that makes you feel welcome.

5. Focus on enjoying yourself

Whether you’re dancing alone at home or in a large dance class, remember to go easy on yourself. Even the most experienced dancers make mistakes, and you’re bound to make a few while you learn your new moves.

The important thing is to enjoy yourself. If you’re having fun while dancing, you’re more likely to do it regularly – and the health benefits are simply an added bonus!

Next steps

Want to know more about improving your health after 50? SunLife has guides on everything from eating healthily, to the best free UK walking apps. And you’ll find even more inspiration at our dedicated Your Life hub.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the page are those of the authors, intended to be informative, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SunLife. See our Terms of Use for more info.