The Comox Valley Scottish Country Dancing Society will host a free dancing lesson open to the public, Sept. 23. File photo

Comox Valley Scottish Dancing Society kicks off season with free dance lesson

Stephen Hawking’s biographers document a little-known, but true fact that apart from his hum-drum interest in theoretical physics and the theory of black holes, until he became confined to a wheelchair, one of Stephen Hawking’s favourite activities was Scottish country dancing. He enjoyed the mental challenges of Scottish country dancing so much that he organized dance evenings at home twice a week and taught friends to dance. And so can you!

As we know Hawking’s remarkable intelligence was complemented with a phenomenal sense of fun and wit. Well, you don’t have to be Hawking to enjoy the same opportunity to laugh and improve your mental sharpness. Scottish country dancing may not exactly be “the fountain of youth” that some reports and scientific studies claim, but it is always good fun in good company with terrific music.

An increasing number of scientific studies show that Scottish country dancing is not just good cardiovascular and memory exercise. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in August 2010 made a study of 70 women between the ages of 60 and 85 years; half were Scottish country dancers and the remainder participated in other physical activities such as swimming, walking, golf and keep fit classes. The women were assessed on their strength, stamina, flexibility and balance. They all compared favourably with average fitness levels for women in their age range, but the Scottish country dancers were shown to have more agility, stronger legs and to be able to walk more briskly than people who took part in other forms of exercise.

This study was followed up in 2014 in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity which concluded that “Scottish country dance can delay the effects of aging on locomotion-related functional abilities.” Furthermore, the same study concludes that “Scottish country dance may provide enough of a stimulus to delay the inevitable effects of aging on the cardiorespiratory system in individuals in their eighth decade of life.”

So, if you wish to have fun on a Monday evening, in pleasant, non-stressful company and add a decade of active living to your life – here is a cheap (Scottish) opportunity.

The Comox Valley Scottish Dancing Society will kick off its 2018-1019 season and open one free introductory class to the public, Sept. 23. No kilt or partner are required, just a desire to enjoy yourself. The Comox Valley Scottish Country Dancing Society meets in fall and winter at 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Comox United Church Hall (corner of Comox Avenue and Beach Drive). Teenagers under the age of 16 should be accompanied by an adult. Further information can be had at www.cvscottishcountrydance.org or phone Heather at 250-897-2670.

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