April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) struggle with walking, balance, stiffness, and muscle rigidity. Exercise is a crucial component for PD patients to maintain their mobility and everyday activities. Dance, in particular, is shown to provide tremendous benefits for PD patients.
The rhythm of music serves as an external cue for movement facilitation. Regularly moving to rhythm gives people more control of their balance and makes them less likely to fall because they train their brains to proceed with the sound. This is especially helpful for those with Parkinson’s disease, as falls are a common cause of hospital admission for them.
The emotional connection that dance fosters is another beneficial aspect of dance for those with PD that many other forms of exercise do not contain. Since nearly half of all people with Parkinson’s struggle with anxiety and depression, emotional connection is essential to combat these symptoms. Partner dance is a communal experience that activates mirror neurons in the brain. The person feels like they are part of something bigger, and the endorphins released in this group activity promote an overall feeling of well-being and belonging.
Dancing is an aerobic activity incorporating strength training that targets the core, legs, and glutes. Furthermore, dance movement promotes agility, flexibility, and posture. These are fundamental aspects of exercise for individuals with PD. Lack of dopamine is associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and exercise helps release this neurotransmitter. Being that dance is one of the most well-rounded workouts that enhance strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular function all in one, it’s an excellent choice for people with Parkinson’s disease.
While Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured, treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms. Lifestyle changes, including enough restful sleep, a healthy diet, and a regular exercise regimen can help. Dance, in particular, helps individuals struggling with PD manage the disease. We’ve seen the vast array of benefits dance has on Parkinson’s here at our studio! Contact us today to learn more about how we tailor our dance classes to your specific needs.