DANCE is a step in the right direction for people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a world-renowned researcher says.
Speaking at La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus on Monday, Professor Meg Morris said movement and exercise were critical for people diagnosed with the degenerative disorder.
“Getting exercise in early after diagnosis is key for the best outcomes,” she said.
“Having good exercise goes hand in hand with having good nutrition and staying connected socially.”
The Head of the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus, Professor Morris said dance was particularly effective exercise for people with PD.
“Dance is highly energetic, highly aerobic and highly enjoyable,” Professor Morris said.
“People who dance get the health effects, the wellness effects and the social connection, which you may not get from going to the gym.”
Albury-based dance studio Murray Youth Performing Arts will offer a new dance program for people with PD from Term 3.
Director Libby Ellis said the project had been in the pipeline for two years.
She said teachers had been trained to deliver Music and Movement for Parkinson’s, an evidence-based model.
“The whole concept is based around the fact that you’ve come to dance classes and you just happen to have Parkinson’s,” Mrs Ellis said.
Professor Morris said exercise could help prevent falls in people living with PD.
She said people with PD had on average four falls a year.
“Exercise and strength training allows us to use cues and tricks to bypass the defective basal ganglia, the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s,” she said.
“The aim is to prevent falls by staying strong through exercise.”
Professor Morris was sponsored by the Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson's Research to research Preventing Falls and Improving Mobility in people with Parkinson's Disease.
Professor Morris said everyone needed at least 30 minutes’ exercise a day.
“For people living with Parkinson’s it’s even more critical,” she said.
The John Richards Initiative presented Monday’s program.
Music and Movement for Parkinson’s classes will run at Murray Youth Performing Arts studios in Term 3 on Fridays at 10.30am.