There are many reasons that I enjoy participating in the Dancing Through Parkinson’s program. Here is my list:
The brain can be changed by doing new activities. Dancing requires concentration and coordination, which helps my brain stay sharp. My neurologist is very pleased with my stable condition and says to keep up the exercise, including DTP. This is just as important as my medications, in her opinion.
I enjoy meeting the other people with Parkinson’s. DTP provides a support group atmosphere, even though that was not the original intention of the program.
Rachelle brings a sense of joy to the class by playing interesting music and making the class fun and exciting . The class always leaves me feeling uplifted.
Jud Eson – Dance Participant
Dance for Parkinson’s was something I didn’t have much interest in, especially since I couldn’t dance before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) 11 years ago. Through the cajoling of friends, I hesitantly went perhaps a month after the classes had started. I was amazed by the positive energy that the instructor exuded and the physical/emotional benefit was measurable. The class benefits those who have extreme limitations and to those who have been recently diagnosed. Since Rachelle’s most recent training in NYC with the Mark Morris Dance Group, the class has seen a higher focus on fine motor skills, gait training, coordination, and balance exercises, which translates into real life benefits of dressing one’s self without help, walking, typing, thinking, and the general well being of individuals who have been inflicted by PD. Beyond the physical benefits, I spoken to a number of people in the class whereby Dance for PD is their only social outlet for the week.
While the class is being partially subsidized by the local PD support group, the weekly cost of $5 may seem at first glance as “affordable”, one must remember that generally speaking, PD patients are older and typically on a fixed income. In my case, the impact of PD has forced me to stop working, and I too am now on a fixed income. It would be my hope that the making the Dance for PD class free would allow class size to grow with many of these PD dancers being able to experience the benefits of the Ciccotti Center. Making the PD Dance class free would make it available to more PD patients.
While medical breakthroughs have been limited, exercise in any format has shown to slow down the progression of PD by as much as 30%.
Patrick Klee – Dance Participant
I would like to thank the Ciccotti Center for hosting this class! It is one of the activities I truly look forward to attending on a regular basis.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) almost 20 years ago. For me, the best thing is exercise… all different forms of exercise and movement. The variety for me is important.
Besides taking the Dance/Movement class I also take a (non-contact) boxing class and a spin class (stationary bike). The dance class to me is like a PD Support Group. We get together, chat, take the class, and then chat more. This is one of the few places I feel comfortable to make mistakes and not over think about my symptoms. We are a group of like individuals taking the class with
limited opportunities to have the camaraderie of others in public. This class gives that to us. The smiles, laughter, and joy that emit from the room can be amazing. I appreciate this opportunity to let you know how grateful I am of the Cicotti Center’s support.
Bruce Plotsky – Dance Participant
“Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, for which there is still no cure. I had but two options, I could live in fear, or I could scare myself healthy. I scared myself healthy, and so can you.”
Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), exercise is more than healthy — it is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can improve many PD symptoms. These benefits are supported by research.
According to a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal, dancing, especially when followed by a change in choreography, is superior to repetitive physical activities such as walking or cycling.
People who are physically active can slow down their brain’s aging process. Neuroscientists behind this study say that dancing is the most effective physical activity.
In their study, they prove that 2 different types of physical activity, dancing and endurance training both increase the brain’s area that declines over time as we age. But, only dancing has proved to be effective when it comes to changes in behavior due to the noticeable improvements in balance.
The researchers selected 52 elderly volunteers aged 63-80 years for the purpose of the study. Then, they divided them randomly into two groups, one group was assigned to join dance classes, and the other group joined the sports control group.
The dance group took dance lessons with a constant change of choreography which moves they were asked to memorize. The program for the sports group, on the other hand, consisted of strength training, endurance training, and flexibility training.
The hippocampus area of the brain which is the most susceptible to decline because of the aging processes has increased in both groups. This area of the brain is also responsible for memory, balance, as well as learning.
But, only volunteers in the dance group had an increased volume of other subparts in the left hippocampus. Moreover, only dancing had increased the volume of one part in the right hippocampus called the subiculum.
This study proved that dancing, especially when followed by a change in choreography, is indeed superior to repetitive physical activities such as walking or cycling.
More than 35 peer reviewed scientific research studies conducted at a number of major university research centers around the world including Roehampton University, University of Florida, Queensland University of Technology, York University and the University of Freiburg point to the benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s. A number of leading neurologists and movement disorder specialists around the world include Dance for PD classes among a shortlist of recommended activities for their patients.
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