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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2008 December;61(4):429-42

language: English, Italian

Estimated energy expenditure in elderly subjects during ballroom dancing

Vivarelli C. 1, Chiarandini G. 1, Zadro I. 1,2, Antonutto G. 1,2, Tuniz D. 3

1 Department of Motor Sciences, University of Udine, Gemona del Friuli, Udine, Italy
2 Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technology, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
3 Department of Rehabilitation Cardiology, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Institute, Udine, Italy


Aim. Aim of the study was to evaluate metabolic expenditure in elderly as a consequence of ballroom dancing.
Methods. The study enrolled 14 elderly subjects (7 males, mean age 64±4 years; 7 females, mean age 61±6 years). Metabolic expenditure was calculated for three dance styles of increasing metabolic intensity: slow waltz, quickstep and Viennese waltz. The energy cost (kcal/(kg.min)) was indirectly measured by continuous heart rate (HR) recording of each participant during each dance and calculated from the known personal VO2 and HR (r2=0.94-0.99) profile previously determined in the laboratory.
Results. The calculated energy cost in the male and female dancers was: 0.046 and 0.037 during the slow waltz, 0.058 and 0.050 during the quickstep, 0.065 and 0.063 during the Viennese waltz, respectively. Metabolic expenditure expressed as a fraction of the estimated personal VO2max was 45% and 40% for the slow waltz, 55% and 51% for the quickstep, and 63% and 64% for the Viennese waltz in the male and female dancers, respectively. The metabolic load was between 4 and 7 METs.
Conclusion. Therefore, amateur ballroom dancing may be considered a physical activity of mild to moderate intensity, that can help maintaining good cardiovascular fitness, making it very suitable for elderly people, especially as it provides a pleasant occasion for socialization.

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