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Boot, scoot, and boogie

Parkville residents are line dancing their way to better health

Created date

March 26th, 2013

Does the thought of walking on a treadmill bore you to tears? Are you forever searching for a fun way to get fit? At Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., people have discovered the fitness center isn t the only place to get a good workout and are using line dancing as a fun way to stay fit. It s dog-gone good exercise! says Gerry Onorato, who teaches a line dancing class on Tuesday afternoons at Oak Crest. In fact, there are a few ladies in our class who also work out in the fitness center, and they tell me they have more fun in our hour together than they do exercising on the machines.

Fresh and fit

Whether it s the Electric Slide, Cupid Shuffle, or Cab Driver, line dancing can help you burn calories, increase flexibility, reduce stress, and boost your memory. And says on average you can expect to burn 150 calories from 30 minutes of line dancing. Dancing releases tension and relaxes you, says Gerry. The great thing about line dancing is you don t need a partner. To keep things fresh, Gerry attends a weekly line dancing class at nearby Parkville Senior Center to learn new dances, which she then introduces to her students. There are zillions of line dances out there, says Gerry. I get bored with the same routines, so I decided to start going to these other line dancing classes for ideas. I guess you could say I am broadening my repertoire and bringing back the new dances to the class here.

Train the brain

Laura Jones has been taking line dancing classes at Oak Crest for the last seven years. You feel alive when you re dancing, says Laura. It also stimulates your brain because you have to remember the steps. But the health benefits aren t limited to line dancing. According to a 2003 study published in theNew England Journal of Medicine,ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia. The brain rewires itself based on use, explains Joe Verghese M.D., a professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in aWomen s Healtharticle. The more time you spend on the dance floor, the more you train your brain to open those feel-good floodgates and the more you ll start to amp up your overall well-being. Although she s only been line dancing a short time, Gerry has been ballroom dancing for more than 30 years with partner Walter Ballesteros. Dancing has been very good for us as far as our health goes, says Walter. I think the more you exercise, the more agile your body is, and it s easier to keep moving. I also play tennis, and I think my dancing helps me with that and vice versa.

Boogie down

Walter organizes a monthly dance at Oak Crest named TGIF Dance Club, which is held the first Friday of every month. The dances are open to the public and feature live music and light refreshments. I started this dance night in hopes that it would encourage people who don t have partners to come out and enjoy themselves, says Walter. We get single ladies and single men. It s come as you are [with the exception of no jeans] and very laid back. There is also another dance held here at Oak Crest on the third Sunday of every month called Sunday Nights Live. We encourage everyone who comes to the dances to feel free to ask anyone to dance, says Gerry. There are a few dances, like a polka, for example, that a lot of men can t do, so we encourage the ladies to get out there and dance with each other. We don t care, just as long as you re having a good time. Laura says she usually attends both the Friday and Sunday night dances held at the community. It s good to get out and just be in a fun atmosphere with other people socializing and listening to the music, says Laura. As for Gerry, she says she can t imagine not dancing and hopes to keep at it for a long, long time. Dancing has been a passion, and hopefully, with the good Lord willing, I ll be able to keep on doing it for a long time, says Gerry.

Come dance at Oak Crest

Like to dance or always wished you knew how? Come dance at Oak Crest. Come alone or with a partner to dosadoe around the dance floor. TGIF Dance Club First Friday of every month, 7 p.m. Oak Crest s John Erickson Conference Hall 8820 Walther Boulevard Parkville, MD 21234 Sunday Nights Live Third Sunday of every month, 5 p.m. Oak Crest s John Erickson Conference Hall 8820 Walther Boulevard Parkville, MD 21234