For some of us (myself included) dancing is very difficult. In my case it is simply because I don’t have any sense of rhythm. Patients who suffer from Parkinsons have difficulty dancing because the disease causes generalized stiffness and shaking. Balance is also a problem for Parkinsons sufferers.
Yet it makes sense that dancing might help such people. Dancing can help loosen up the stiffness, improve balance and of course help participants stay in shape. Weight loss is another nice feature. And of course you feel better after prancing around for a bit.
Many Parkinsons patients have difficulty just getting out of bed or taking a small walk. This doesn’t mean that they can’t dance. There are specialized dance courses all over the country, which cater to Parkinson patients or to those with other movement disorders (strokes, paralysis or inborn movement problems).
No one expects these dancers to be the next Baryshnikov. The goals are to improve movement through dance. People who have taken these course seem to not only thoroughly enjoy themselves, they also find that they can walk with better balance and feel more relaxed.
Left alone, Parkinsons can progress to the point of being bedridden. Medications and physical therapy help but cannot cure the disease. Newer research has produced some novel medications and treatments. Still, why not take a dance course geared toward fellow Parkinsons patients?