Moving for mind and body

Dance has become the key to relief for Highlanders with Parkinson’s Disease.

MOVING FOR PARKINSON'S Participants dance for the mind and body at a Loosen Up session earlier this year. Photo: Victoria Lee.

MOVING FOR PARKINSON'S Participants dance for the mind and body at a Loosen Up session earlier this year. Photo: Victoria Lee.

Through the long-running Dance for Parkinson’s Program, participants are empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative.

Students from Chevalier College hit the latest dance class to assist and teach participants. 

The dance based exercise program can assist those with movement disorders to gain mobility mastery, coordination and confidence.

To prepare for the class, the Chevalier dance students had to research the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and the program, as well as what types of movements people would find difficult.

For people with Parkinson’s, dance is used to stimulate mental activity to connect the mind to the body and also develops flexibility and confidence.

It also focuses attention on eyes, ears and touch as tools to assist in movement and balance.

Over the next few weeks, Chevalier students will assist in running the classes. 

Occupational Therapist and dance teacher Margaret Connor said research has proven that exercise is a must for those with the disease.

“It can slow the pace of the disease,” she said.

“Much of the class is based on creative expression, improvisation as well as some dance patterns to establish rhythm and the body-brain connections, which are important regarding neuroplasticity.”

Ms Connor said people do not need to know how to dance, but must be open to movement suggestions, focusing on all body parts affected by the disease including facial muscles, voice, brain and body.

The classes followed a format where participants started by warming up in their chairs, then moved behind their chairs and finally away from the chairs.

Chevalier students will run and assist with the classes over the next few weeks. 

The Loosen Up program is held at the Moss Vale Community Centre each Wednesday morning from 9.45am-11am and costs $10 for participants.

Call 4861 2294 or email margaretvconnor@gmail.com for more information.

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