It isn’t just the name of a popular television show, it’s an idea that researchers are finding to be true ! PD Patients who dance receive a variety of benefits from the exercise, according to doctors at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. By partnering with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC), these two facilities have started the launch of a pilot program in contemporary dance specifically designed for people with Parkinson's disease and related movement disorders.
The 12 week class takes place on Saturday afternoons complete with a pianist offering the music accompaniment. For one hour and 15 minutes, Parkinson patients and stroke victims along with their partners, spouses and friends cut a rug in hopes of improving their mobility skills, according to Dr. James Young from RUMC. While medication certainly plays an important role in PD patients’ lives, unusual therapy such as dancing is just as critical in improving motor skills.
The rhythm and consistent beat of the music helps patients to move more easily than if they were just walking. The effects of the music also tend to alleviate depression by coupling music and dancing together. All the components of dance help the patient with neurological disorders to improve their circumstance. For example, the movement to music provides exercise as well as practice in controlling body movement. Remembering dance moves or steps or even learning new dances keeps your brain engaged and sharp and finally and most importantly, the PD patients are able to socialize at least once a week with others who face the same hardships as they do.
So next time you’re feeling blue or you’re having difficulty with your motor skills, whether you are in the Chicago area or not, put your dancing shoes on and have fun! Your brain will thank you!