A walking dance to improve gait speed for people with Parkinson disease: A pilot study

Elinor C. Harrison, Gammon M. Earhart, David Leventhal, Lori Quinn, Pietro Mazzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aim: To determine the effectiveness of a targeted dance intervention to improve walking speed for people with Parkinson disease (PD) by increasing motor motivation. Materials & methods: 11 participants with PD participated in a 6-week pilot study in which they learned a contemporary dance composed of walking steps and designed to mimic everyday walking. 1 h classes occurred twice-weekly. Results: Pre-and post-intervention assessments revealed a significant increase in gait speed (t9 = 3.30; p = 0.009), cadence (t9 = 2.345; p = 0.044), and stride length (t9 = 3.757; p = 0.005), and a significant decrease (improvement) in single support time variability (t9 =-2.744; p = 0.022). There were no significant changes in other measures of gait variability nor in motor symptoms, mood and anxiety, extent of life-space mobility, or quality of life. No adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Joywalk provides preliminary evidence that a targeted physical intervention for people with PD may specifically counter bradykinesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalNeurodegenerative disease management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Parkinson disease
  • bradykinesia
  • dance
  • gait speed
  • motivation
  • reward


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