Parkinson

dancing as exercise — a simple island life

The suggestion of dancing seems to bring out a strong reaction from people. They either say they love it or they something like “I’m not a dancer”. It’s a declarative statement which seems to mean they have never been a dancer, not a dancer now, and could not possibly be a dancer in the future.

So when I saw this article about how dancing can help PD symptoms, I thought what terrific news that is. The second thing I thought was that a whole bunch of people are going to think “I’m not a dancer”. Some of that feeling might be because they don’t feel like their good at it or have any rhythm. Some of it might be cultural. Some cultures don’t have dancing as a normal part of their lives so it may be uncomfortable or feel silly, while others, dancing is done by everyone from young to old, at celebrations and holidays.

When my son Bronson moved to Brazil, he described how wonderful it was to see everyone let loose during Carnival, without a sense of embarrassment and out of just pure enjoyment. I remember when I was in Mendoza, Argentina during a new year celebration at a restaurant. An elderly man just got up and started dancing and before you know it, his whole family was up and dancing. It was a delight to see.

Dancing has been around since ancient times and is done for many reasons including celebration, communication, and was a form of passing down oral history. There is something about it that just makes you feel good. It also helps with proprioception which is sort of your body-brain connection or your sense of self-movement and body position. And of course it’s fun.

The study says it doesn’t take much, a little over an hour a week. So you can slowly incorporate that into your schedule if you’re new to it. There are also many different options to start. Dance for PD looks like they have many locations and online classes and YMCA’s usually have various dance classes. I started taking an online Zumba Gold class once a week, which is not as intense as their regular class, and it’s a blast. The great thing about online classes is that you can keep your camera off, if you’re shy or don’t feel like your dancing is ready for the world yet.

Or how about ballroom dancing? How about just put on half an hour of music in your living room and get your groove on. The electric slide, the two step, if you want to go down a fun rabbit hole, google dance tutorials.

So I hope you give dancing a try. Our break dancing days may be behind us, but we can still enjoy ourselves and do something positive for our PD. 💖


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