Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Dancing improves lower limb function in cardiac rehabilitation programme

Vordos Z et al., Eur J CV Nurs 2016

Impact of traditional Greek dancing on jumping ability, muscular strength and lower limb endurance in cardiac rehabilitation programmes

Vordos Z, Kouidi E, Mavrovouniotis F, et al.
Eur J CV Nurs 2016; published online ahead of print


Cardiac rehabilitation programmes (CRPs) are recommended for the management of CVD and data supports their contribution to reduced mortality and morbidity [1,2].
CRPs consist of various therapeutic approaches, including psychological support, appropriate dietary instructions and education, however, the cornerstone of a CRP is exercise training [3].The combination of aerobic, flexibility and resistance exercise training has been shown to improve all physical fitness parameters, including functional capacity, as well as the quality of life of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) [4].
Dancing is an alternative and attractive way of exercise, which requires complicated, rhythmic, balanced and synchronised motor activity [5,6]. Moreover, Greek traditional dances contribute to socialisation, reduction of anxiety and mild depression, and improvement of quality of life [7,8].
In this study, a CRP was evaluated that included a 12-week exercise training programme based on Greek traditional dances as the main component and alternative form of exercise, in 40 elderly CHF patients with NYHA ≤II. The CRP was assessed by measuring exercise capacity, lower extremity muscle strength, and jumping ability.                         

Main results

Compared to baseline, 12-weeks of CRP with Greek traditional dances (n=20) led to significant improvements in:
  • walking distance: 10.0% improvement in 6-min WT; P<0.05
  • lower limb strength: 10.32% improvement; P<0.05
  • countermovement jump speed: 6.9%; P<0.05
  • squat jump speed: 5.8%; P<0.05
  • jump plyometry height: 13.86%; P<0.05
  • counter jump height: 10.68%; P<0.05
  • squat jump height: 10.45%; P<0.05
  • contact time of plyometry jump: 9.4%; P<0.05
  • force of countermovement jump: 9.6%; P<0.05
After 12 weeks of Greek traditional dances CRP, the strength of lower limbs was correlated with:
  • plyometry jump: r=0.79; P<0.01
  • countermovement jump: r=0.83; P<0.01
  • squat jump: r=0.86; P<0.01
At the end of the study, the CRP group had a 6.85% (P<0.05) increased force of counter jump compared with the control group.


The implementation of a CRP using Greek traditional dances as exercise training in elderly CHF patients was safe and effective in improving lower limb function. Dancing may contribute to the modernization of CRPs and increase the participation of CHF patients in exercise training programmes.
Find this article online at Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs


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