Virtual dance parties help some improve health and wellness during pandemic

Depending where you live, gatherings of more than 50 people aren’t allowed. But in the virtual world, you can join a dance party with hundreds of fellow guests.

“The dance party has been really amazing. We average about 500 people that sign up for the dance parties, and if you’ve ever been to one, you can’t help but smile,” said Tanya Robinson, executive director of Medicare at Kaiser Permanente.

The dance parties are part of Kaiser Permanente’s “Thriving After 60” program of events, workshops and classes.

Topics include, for example, yoga for arthritis, stress relief, financial planning, nutrition, mindfulness and warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The virtual ‘Thriving After 60’ program is a spin-off of an existing program that we’ve had for a few years now, which is targeted at improving the mental and physical health of our members and our community over 60,” Robinson said.

Anyone is welcome to register for any of the free events, not just Kaiser members.

The sessions are conducted on Zoom. After you register for an event, you’re sent a link to join and participate. The experience is interactive — you can ask questions, and instructors can offer advice.

During a seated yoga class, for example, you might be advised to “sit up a little bit straighter or breathe more deeply,” Robinson said. Depending on the class, visitors will see the instructors and other participants.

“It’s the best as you can get with not being in person because you feel like you’re a part of this larger community.”

Attend one of the dance parties and screens flashing images of a bunch of fellow participants make it feel as though you’re in a crowd.

“Reducing that social isolation, being around other people, help to make you feel good,” Robinson said, noting that all the moving around raises endorphins. “This leads to all sorts of things, like improved sleep quality, increasing self-esteem, feeling more self-worth. It’s all good.”

“Thriving After 60” content is geared toward the 60-plus population, but events are open to visitors of all ages who want to join.

“It’s more important than ever that people feel connected to other people, feel connected to communities, so please join us at our Thriving After 60 Facebook page or online. We’d love to see you there,” Robinson said.

 

Originally published on WTOP.com. 

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