Strictly Come Dancing champion Ore Oduba has backed a campaign to get older people dancing this Christmas to boost their health and well-being.
The radio and television presenter joined residents of the Dawson Lodge care home run by provider Anchor in Southampton, Hampshire, for the Move Into Christmas initiative.
Research by Anchor found that dancing helps people to start and maintain good fitness habits, with 65% of older people seeing dancing as a fun and engaging way to keep fit and 43% saying dancing makes them happy.
The NHS also recommends dancing to lose weight, maintain strong bones, improve posture and muscle strength, and increase balance and coordination.
Oduba said: “The thing about dance is that it just makes you feel good, and it can really benefit your physical, mental and social wellbeing.
“I’ve had great fun dancing with Anchor’s residents and I’m so inspired to see how much they’re enjoying it. Move Into Christmas is a great way to bring people together this holiday season.”
Dawson Lodge resident Mary “Pat” Rose, 97, said: “I loved dancing when I was young. I started at school, doing all of the folk dances before moving on to Scottish dancing.
“My favourite dance routine was the Gay Gordons but I used to get so giddy, that I would shoot across the floor at the end.
“I liked to do all the dances but was told I was too stiff, so it is nice to get involved and let myself go during the exercise activities that take place in my care home.
“Move Into Christmas will be great fun and a chance to think back to other happy dancing times. I’m excited to be a part of the dance and am really looking forward to seeing other people’s routines.”
Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, said: “Across our services, we see the transformative power that fitness activities like dancing have on our residents’ wellbeing and sense of fulfilment. It’s through their love of dance that Move Into Christmas was created.
“Regardless of previous dancing experience, or any mobility challenges for some in later life, many of our residents across the country are embracing the opportunity to dance.
“Throughout the festive period and colder months, dancing provides a fun and accessible way to keep up good fitness habits.”