Parkinson’s disease is an extremely progressive disorder that is often accompanied by impaired balance, walking and reduced quality of life. The studies have already shown that exercise is a very vital part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson’s disease, exercise is more than healthy. It is an important component to maintain balance, mobility and activities performed in daily life. Exercises and physical activity can improve many Parkinson’s disease symptoms. But recent research has shown that, dance is even a better therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s disease than exercise and yoga.

 

Dance for Parkinson’s disease classes have already stimulated research at major university research centers around the world, an indication that the medical community acknowledges the potential benefits of dance for persons with Parkinson’s disease. A lot of Research has suggested that dance has itsbenefits which are beyond basic exercise for the patients because it is a rich experience involving multiple senses, creative expression and social interaction. Moreover, unlike exercise classes, participants are motivated to attend, rarely missing a class and often clamoring for more, studies show.

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  • Firstly, Dance is an activity that is performed to music. Music along with dance serves as an external cue that works to facilitate the movement of the body and it also involves the teaching of the movement of specific parts of the body that is quite helpful for a Parkinson’s patient. In Argentina, tango is taught to Parkinson’s disease patients to learn the strategy of walking backwards.
  • Dance also recommends a very essential component for Parkinson’s disease patients which is, balancing. Dancing particularly with a partner, one must control balance and respond to the environment, for example being bumped by another couple. In fact, people who have danced habitually over their lives are known to have better balance and less variable gait than non-dancers. Dance-based balanced training has shown evident success in improving balance in elderly people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Along with balance, dance also enhances strength and flexibility of the body.
  • Dance also plays an important role in cardiovascular functioning of the body, if done with sufficient intensity. Dance is an excellent form of aerobic exercise which essentially works in favor of a Parkinson’s disease patient towards a better condition.
  • More than just a form of physical exercise, dance also involves a number of other processes that can be beneficial for Parkinson’s disease, including action observation and imitation. A lot of studies for dance for Parkinson’s disease have largely focused on physical outcomes for example, balance and posture, however, people with Parkinson’s disease also suffer from difficulties in understanding and interacting with others, resulting in social isolation. Dance for Parkinson’s patients helps in improving social interaction and communication.
  • Dance therapy has shown benefits for older adults with Parkinson’s disease and there is increasing recognition of its potential value for people suffering from this disease. Moreover, dance offers a more engaging and enjoyable option than other forms of physical therapy, which is particularly important as motivation and self-esteem is usually low in people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • The effects of specific elements of dance have not been directly compared in Parkinson’s disease. While some aspects of dance for example ballet can improve balance, posture and coordination, additional elements such as facial expressions and hand gestures such as in classical dances have broadened the range of benefits for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

To sum it up, the main benefits of dance for patients suffering from Parkinson’s are:

    1. Improved motor control
    2. Decreased Rigidity
    3. Increase balance
    4. Reduced risk of falling
    5. Improved overall quality of life.

Studies show that experienced dancers use specific areas of the brain important for coordination and motor control that are often impaired in people with Parkinson’s disease. The aesthetic, emotional and creative aspects of different types of dance enable patients to explore movement patterns that may have been weakened by symptoms of Parkinson’s disease making dance a powerful form of exercise for people who are impacted by the disease.

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