A big part of addressing Parkinson’s is slowing the progression of the disease to maintain as much mobility as possible, and fortunately, a new study from York University in Canada finds that the joy and movement of dance classes can effectively slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
The researchers recruited 16 people with mild cases of Parkinson’s and had them attend a weekly dance class for three years. The classes involved aerobic and anaerobic movements. When comparing these patients with 16 who did not participate in dance classes, the researchers found that those who danced saw significant improvements in speech, tremors, balance, and rigidity. They also experienced no deterioration in movement and psychological symptoms.
Motor deterioration with Parkinson’s is typically fastest in the first five years following diagnosis. Unfortunately, as speech and movement deteriorate and dyskinesia (involuntary, erratic movements in the face and body) increases, patients tend to withdraw and go out less, which actually exacerbates this deterioration. Prescribing something as simple as a weekly dance class significantly improves physical health while also offering the mental health benefits of regular connection and movement with others.