Guest Blog Post by: Good Shepherd Rehabilitation / Emily Lyter, PT, DPT
So, you think you can dance? You can – even if you suffer from Parkinson’s disease (PD). In fact, dance can be beneficial for people with PD, because it helps to combat symptoms, such as slowness of movement, tremors and/or instability that often result from loss of brain function.
How does dance help people with Parkinson’s disease?
Studies show that experienced dancers use specific areas of the brain important for coordination and motor control that are often impaired in people with PD. 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 PD – making dance a powerful form of exercise for people who are impacted by the disease.
Benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s disease include:
- Improved motor control
- Decreased rigidity
- Increased balance
- Reduced risk of falling
- Improved overall quality of life
Good Shepherd’s Dance for Wellness Program is specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. Classes encourage an exploration of movement that is guided by music, imagery and individual creativity. Classes begin in a seated position and students focus on foot work, trunk control and upper body movements. When and if students are ready, they can progress to supported standing, free standing and walking routines.