Aging & Health: Hip-hop dance helps Japanese seniors stay fit
Aging and health were also discussed at this year's forum. In Japan, where more than a quarter of the population are aged over 65, hip-hop dance classes have become the latest health craze among seniors citizens. Mayu Yoshida has more on how this type of exercise is helping the elderly stay fit in the rapidly aging country.
You're never too old to bust a move. That's certainly the case for this group of street dancers in Tokyo, whose average age is 61. They call themselves the Senior Monsters. They groove, they twerk and they also make sure to keep up with the latest social media trends.
72-year-old Shigeru Yatabe, also known as Shige-boh, started dancing to hip hop 10-years ago after he retired. He's now into house moves that require a lot of footwork, but help him to stay fit. And he's not the only one obsessed with street dance.
SHIGE-BOH DANCER "Six months after I started learning hip hop, I went on a show. It was a bit embarrassing at first, but I invited my family. It was an unforgettable moment. I enjoyed being watched. It was a feeling I had never experienced before. I love dance very much so it is very fun."
The group is one of many that's helping elderly Japanese dancers shatter stereotypes of what ageing means in the oldest country in the world. The number of Japanese aged 65 or older expected to reach 37 million in a decade. With fewer young and more old people, dance schools are cashing in on this rapidly growing market.
MAYU YOSHIDA TOKYO "Hip hop dance lessons for seniors are popping up across Tokyo. All the students at this class say they never danced before but they love it so much that they have been coming to this school for more than five years."
YOKO IIZUKA 83-YEAR-OLD HIP-HOP DANCE STUDENT "I've been coming to this school for six and a half years now. Recently, I almost tripped over a stone. But my hand reflex was so quick, it prevented me from falling. I think I owe this to days of learning hip hop. I can't help but be thankful to hip hop dance!"
SHIRO OBA CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC OWNER "Hip-hop dance uses both the right and left sides of the body, so it keeps people physically balanced."
Experts say more healthy and active seniors could keep them away from hospital. That could also help Japan put a brake on its ballooning medical costs which topped US$380 billion in fiscal 2017, a record-high. For the Senior Monsters, street dance was their solution. Mayu Yoshida, CGTN, TOKYO.