Yes You Can Dance With Parkinsons
Dont let fear of freezing keep you from the dance floor. Learn how dance therapy can help those with Parkinsons.
Putting a little more swing in your step may seem like a daunting task if you have Parkinsons disease. But cue some loud dance music, and you might find it easier to kick up your heels.
Dance classes designed just for those with Parkinsons are becoming a popular option across the country. Science says dancing is a fun and effective way to boost balance, movement and flexibility in those with mild to moderately severe Parkinsons disease.
Tap into your potential for healthier living and learn how a tempting tango, wistful waltz or other dance may help you express yourself and thrive.
Move to the Beat
Parkinsons can make it difficult to multitask while walking. For example, taking a step while remembering your to-do list might be a challenge. Add in tremors and rigid movements, commonly seen in PD, and you might think your dance hall days are a thing of the past.
Not true! So turn up the music and get ready to get your groove back. Research shows that people with PD who take a dance class for at least 12 weeks have easier, smoother movements. They feel better overall and have short-term improvements in balance, mobility and freezing episodes.
Try the Tango
Bonus: Youll get a good workout. A swift tango revs your heartbeat quite a bit .
Waltz this Way
Ballet Just for You
Check out Danceforparkinsons.org, which offers classes worldwide.
Moving For Better Balance
These two instructional videos part I is 10 minutes and part II is 5 minutes are taught by a Jamestown New York YMCA staff member using the Moving for Better Balance approach, an evidence-based fall prevention program.
This 30-minute video is a personal account by Michael Weiss, a person with Parkinsons. In it he shares stretches, breathing, and physical exercises he has compiled for himself. Exercise demonstration begins 8-minutes into the video and include toe lifts, leg swing, leg lift, knee circles, hip circles, squats, arm stretches, arm twists, shoulder stretches, chair push-ups, bicycle legs, toe touches, chopping wood, conducting, dancing, and facial exercises.
Also Check: How Long Does It Take Parkinsons To Progress
What Parkinsons Symptoms Can Improve From Exercise
Research has shown that exercise can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination. Exercise such as treadmill training and biking have all been shown to benefit, along with Tai Chi and yoga.
Studies have shown that:
Also Check: How To Reduce Rigidity In Parkinson
What Kind Of Exercise Can I Do If I Have Trouble Standing Or Walking
Even with advanced Parkinsons symptoms, you can still reap the benefits of some activities. If you have trouble walking or balancing, hold a bar or rail to exercise and stretch. If standing or getting up is tough, exercise and stretch in a chair or bed. Physical exercise performed in a seated position, such as biking on a recumbent bike can allow you to exert yourself in a safe manner.
Facial exercises may help combat difficulties speaking or swallowing:
- Chew your food longer and more vigorously.
- Exaggerate your face and lip movements when you speak.
- Make faces in the mirror.
- Sing or read out loud.
Mental exercises give your brain a workout and can improve memory. For example:
- Name as many animals as you can in 1 minute.
- Play brain games and do puzzles.
- Solve math problems in your head.
You can also add activity in small bits throughout your day:
- Park further away from stores so you walk longer distances.
- Stretch or do leg exercises while watching TV.
- Swing your arms more when you walk, and take long strides.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
You May Like: Sam Waterston Tremor
Dual Task Performance With The Timed
The overall decrease in dual task cost is significantly different following the two interventions . Figure 7A illustrates that the decreases in dual task cost after Dance for PD are more pronounced than after matched-intensity exercise. Figure 7B reports the dual task cost averages across subjects before and after the two conditions, showing a larger decrease after Dance for PD than matched-intensity exercise. The before and after differences, across subjects, representing the decreases in dual task cost, are significantly larger after Dance for PD than after matched-intensity exercise. Supplementary Table S1 reports the TUG Exam Duration both before and after either Dance for PD or matched-intensity exercise, separating the simple TUG and dual task TUG values.
Figure 7. Dual task cost values before and after Dance for PD and matched-intensity exercise in five subjects . Decreases in dual task cost indicate performance improvement. Averages across subjects of dual task cost values before and after Dance for PD, as well as before and after matched-intensity exercise. Mean values are reported, error bars indicate standard error . In red, the means across subjects of the differences between before and after for both Dance for PD and matched-intensity exercise, with standard error in parenthesis. The asterisks * indicates P values less than 0.05.
Also Check: How Do Most Parkinson’s Patients Die
Exercise Class For Parkinsons Disease
Back in Motion Physical Therapy is now offering our new Big and Beyond exercise class for patients with Parkinsons disease. After a year of offering the LSVT Big therapy program, our therapists have witness dramatic functional improvements with their patients! With regular daily practice of the key exercises, patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain and improve their balance, strength and ease of movement. For many patients, compliance with continued exercise is a challenge.
To facilitate exercise compliance, we have recently launched our new Big and Beyond exercise class for the graduates of the LSVT BIG therapy program. These are small group classes with the goal of reinforcing large amplitude movement patterns that were introduced and practiced during the patients time in physical therapy. The class focus is to reinforce the Maximal Daily Exercises for improvements in balance, strength and endurance.
The Big and Beyond exercise class is held in our Lorton and Alexandria VA physical therapy practice locations. The cost is $15 per class. Class size is limited to 6 per class. Call for current class schedule.
Read Also: Early Parkinsons Symptoms In Young Adults
Tips For Getting Started
- First, be safe. Before starting an exercise program, we recommend you to see a physical therapist specializing in Parkinsons for full functional evaluation and recommendations..
- Use a pedometer and figure out how many steps you take on average each day, then build up from there. Many smartphones or smartwatches have a built-in pedometer feature or an application that can be downloaded.
- Exercise indoors and outdoors. Change your routine to stay interested and motivated.
- Again, most importantly pick an exercise you enjoy.
Seek out local PD exercise classes. Across the country, dance classes and boxing groups designed specifically for people with PD are growing in popularity. Contact the Parkinsons Foundations toll-free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO or to find one near you.
Page reviewed by Dr. Bhavana Patel, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s Disease Or Essential Tremor
Strength Training As A Treatment
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinsons. With that in mind, science has focused on ways to improve the quality of life for those with the disease.
Among the proven treatment options is something we know well: strength training.
Strength training reverses some of the physical effects of Parkinsons and can possibly match the physical ability of Parkinsons sufferers to that of those without the disease.
Study Development And Ethical Approval
The present research constitutes a repeated-measure design study on the acute effects of a dance class in people with Parkinsons Disease . Four institutions participated in this study: The City College of New York , University of Brescia , York University , and The Mark Morris Dance Center . The design and methodology of this study were approved in February 2018 by The City College of New York Institutional Review Board .
Also Check: Does Parkinson’s Lead To Dementia
Aquatic Exercisecan Improve Your Balance
According to the APDA, exercising in water is a safe and effective way to improve balance and strength in people with Parkinsons disease. In general, the organization says, buoyancy from simply standing in the pool can help support weaker muscles and improve a persons balance and posture.
Swimming, or even performing some strength and flexibility exercises in the water with the water providing resistance enhances muscle tone, balance, and mobility with minimal stress on the body. The APDA offers a brochure with suggested aquatic exercise routines and general tips.
Are There Any Risks Of Exercising With Parkinsons Disease
Some symptoms, like Parkinsons tremors, may seem worse during exercise. But exercise generally improves tremors and other symptoms in the long run.
Reduce challenges by stretching before and after exercise. Use good form to prevent injury. And avoid slippery floors, poor lighting and tripping hazards. If you have pain, stop and rest.
Pushing yourself too hard during exercise can lead to injury. Start slowly and increase intensity and duration over time. Keep a log to track your exercise choices and how you feel. Eventually, youll learn what works best for you.
Recommended Reading: Is Dementia Part Of Parkinson’s
Parkinsons On The Move
Publisher: Parkinsons On The Move
Thirty-one archived workouts for those with Parkinsons. Videos are sortable by level of difficulty, area of the body to focus on, and preferred position . Other pages on this website offer free recipes and articles about nutrition and PD.
Also available is the Parkinsons On The Move Exercise Library. This collection of 58 short videos each focus on stretching or strengthening a specific part of the body.
Publisher: JCC Tampa Bay on the Cohn Campus
Suzanne Chen leads 43-minutes of stretch and strengthening exercises for those with Parkinsons. Equipment to follow along include an elastic band, light weights , a 8-9 inch soft ball , and a stable chair with no arms.
Publisher: JCC Greater Boston
Eight YouTube exercise videos for those with Parkinsons, including four focused on neuromuscular integration, two total body conditioning and one seated strength. Most videos are about 30 to 45 minutes.
Publisher: PD Warrior PTY LTD, Australia
Similar to Rock Steady Boxing in the US, this Australian app is available from Google play or the App Store is designed for early stage Parkinsons disease. It includes 10 PD Warrior core exercises for free with upgrades and additional bundles available via in app purchases to customize your workout. Each exercise is demonstrated by a physiotherapist.
Publisher Parkinsons Foundation of the National Capital Area
Publisher: Power For Parkinsons
If I Exercise Will I Still Need My Parkinsons Medications
Some people find that exercise helps them reduce the doses of Parkinsons medications over time. But exercise is not a replacement for your medications. In fact, some people need more medications so they can stay active. Dont make changes to your medications without talking to your healthcare providers.
Also Check: Gold Standard Parkinsons Diagnosis
Recommended Reading: Do You Shake With Parkinson’s
Important Things To Focus On In Your Parkinsons Exercise
Patients with Parkinsons disease usually find it difficult to be independent in daily activities of living. However, self-exercise is one of the best ways they can improve and train their body to reach a good level of independence in their daily life. Here are 10 wonderful exercises for individuals with Parkinsons disease that target range of activities.
1. Maintaining your balance
To maintain balance, patients of Parkinsons disease can practice swinging both arms while walking. This will lessen fatigue and loosen the arms and shoulders. Furthermore, walking while changing the speed of your gait from fast to slow from one destination to another is a good technique for improving your balance. Using a chair as a support, you can also do leg lifts to the front and side, making sure that your back stays straight and your spine remains in a neutral position.
The best exercise to improve your walking in Parkinsons disease is toes up! The rule is to stride forward, striking the heel and rolling the foot as you transfer weight forward to the toe. This is a good way to avoid commonly occurring calf cramps or freezing, making the lower leg active. In addition, always practice walking briskly, with both arms helping to elevate the strides. To aid balance, legs should always be further apart while walking.
3. Sitting and standing
4. Posture and tight muscles
5. Fine motor skill: Working the hands and fingers for everyday tasks
6. Facial exercises
Mst Pd And Neural Plasticity
After 4 wk of MST, the PD patients exhibited a V/M ratio level that was even higher than what is typically observed in healthy old individuals . Notably, this training-induced increase in efferent drive accounted for 26% of the increase in leg press 1RM and 46% of the increase in chest press 1RM . These results are in accordance with a recent study revealing that PD patients have the potential to improve efferent neural drive in response to strength training . Albeit, that study showed that improvements in V/M ratio were only evident if the training was performed while standing on an unstable device. Surprisingly, the Silva-Batista et al. study showed that the direct motor response during rest and during MVC improved following the unstable strength training in PD. This finding contrasts the current study and previous literature , documenting the Mmax and Msup to remain unaltered following strength training. Increases in efferent neural drive, as observed in the present study, may be attributed to both enhanced firing frequency and/or motor unit recruitment . In support of this notion, David et al. showed that high-intensity strength training improved voluntary muscle activation in PD patients. Collectively, the present data and previous observations demonstrate the effectiveness of strength training performed with high intensity to induce significant neural adaptations in PD patients.
Don’t Miss: How I Was Diagnosed With Parkinson’s
Maximizing General Fitness Is Essential To Meet The Challenges Of Parkinsons And Other Medical Issues That Can Develop As We Age
Now take a deconditioned person and give them PD! It is not hard to envision how difficult that combination can be.
Therefore, starting an exercise program can build up exercise tolerance and make you more physically fit, which will put your body in a better position to face the challenges of PD.
Another important point to note is that there are a number of common medical problems that interfere with movement and can complicate a persons Parkinsons symptoms, and these include:
- Spinal stenosis or spinal radiculopathy narrowing of the spaces through which the spine and the nerves that emerge from the spine travel. These conditions cause compression or irritation of the spine and/or nerves and can lead to a whole host of symptoms including lower back pain.
- Arthritis pain, swelling and stiffness in joints throughout the body including the shoulders and knees.
- Prior strokes Small strokes due to poor blood flow in the brain may accumulate with age and contribute to neurologic symptoms including difficulty walking
- Neuropathy dysfunction of the nerves that travel to the feet which can cause numbness, weakness or other sensations such as tingling or burning
- Vestibular and hearing loss dysfunction of the nerves that feed the ear and can lead to balance difficulties
You May Like: Is Gabapentin Good For Parkinsons
How To Start Exercising If Youre Living With Parkinsons
Safety is key. The first thing you need to do is talk with your neurologist and primary care doctor to make sure that the exercise regimen that you embark upon is safe for you.
Next, ask for a referral for physical therapy. A physical therapist will be able to figure out what movement challenges you may have and design a program to help you improve. There are certain physical therapists with additional training in Parkinsons. Your physical therapist will work with you for your allotted sessions, and then can help you plan your ongoing exercise regimen that is tailored to you. You can contact the APDA National Rehabilitation Resource Center for Parkinsons Disease for help finding resources in your area.
Additionally, physical therapy can help counteract the tendency for people with PD to reduce the size of their movements. The Lee Silverman Voice Technique has designed a program called LSVT-BIG which trains participants to make big movements. You can search for an LSVT-trained professional near you.
Anyone starting out on an exercise program could benefit from APDAs Be Active & Beyond exercise guide which includes clear photos with simple instructions that are easy to follow, with exercises that address all levels of fitness.
Don’t Miss: What Does Parkinson’s Disease Mean
Exercises To Prioritize When You Have Parkinsons Disease
In this 16-minute YouTube video doctor of physical therapy, Sarah King, shares that at least two studies have demonstrated daily exercise slows the progression of Parkinsons disease . Dr. King summarizes from those studies how often and how vigorously those with PD should exercise in order to benefit. Dr. King then describes how to prioritize the exercises youve been given by a physical therapist, those specific to PD, and those you just enjoy, depending on individual needs.