Dancing can help Parkinson's

English National Ballet, the UK's leading ballet company, founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin have conducted research which shows that dancing can positively affect the well-being, physical movement and social integration of people with Parkinson's and other physical illnesses.

"The study was led by Dr Sara Houston and Ashley McGill (MSc) from the University of Roehampton and examined the impact on people with Parkinson's from a physiological, social, emotional and artistic perspective."

Dancing allows people to take control of staying in shape and spending time with friends which rarely needs any special clothing or equipment. You won't always need to be standing up; you can dance in a wheelchair, even at the living room table. All you need is a little rhythm; it doesn't matter if you're the next Michael Flatley or Dad dancer at the back of the wedding. The key is to move and keep moving.

Dancing isn't just about moving the body. External cues such as counting the beats in music have been proven to help with 'freezing' which is a known symptom of Parkinson's. You need to keep the mind thinking and the body moving.

Music is increasingly used by therapists and exercise professionals to improve walking, balance and related activities. Next time you're listening to music, even if it's just the radio, why not get into the music and try dancing? You don't need to go all out, just a gentle sway, even clapping to the beat could get you started. Aside from the health benefits, it can become really enjoyable once you get into it.

If you're finding that you are stuck at home more and more, why not look at your local dance classes? Age UK has a great directory of all types of classes in most locations here.

Type in your postcode and see what your local Age UK branch has to offer.