Ballroom Dance for Persons with MS: Prelimiary Efficacy
Ballroom or social dance is a physical activity in which people move to music with a partner. Ballroom dance may be an effective exercise mode for people with Multiple Sclerosis (pwMS) who have mild to moderate impairments, in part because a dance partner can provide external support. There is also a cognitive demand in learning and remembering new movements. Until recently, ballroom dance has not been investigated in persons with MS. We have shown previously that ballroom dance can provide a mild to moderate exercise intensity.
The purpose of this ongoing study was to investigate the efficacy of an 8 wk recreational ballroom dance program in pwMS on physical function and other quality of life (QOL) related outcomes.
To date, 12 pwMS (11F, 47(10) yr), participated who were ambulatory with minimal to moderate aid, and able to physically take part in the program. A non-dance control group consisted of 7 pwMS (7F, 46 (9)). The intervention comprised 8 of 10 wks of 1 hr sessions, twice a week, and included, rumba, foxtrot, waltz, swing, American tango, push-pull, and salsa. Participants were paired with a partner without MS. Pre-post measures included QOL (PROMIS Global Short Form), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS), 6-min walk (6MW), Berg Balance Scale, Timed Up and Go (TUG), Dynamic Gait Index (DGI), timed 25’ Walk (25FW), 3 s Paced Serial Addition Test (PASAT), and 9-Hole Peg Test (9HP). Heart rate variability (HRv) was analyzed from a 10 min rest EKG. Analyses were by paired t-tests and Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Values are mean(SD).
Results from the dance group are reported. Improvements in physical function were noted for 6MW (Pre = 456(124) m, Post =492(126), p = 0.002), TUG (Pre =10.4 (3.8) s, Post = 8.9 (4.4), p = 0.003). 25FW tended to improve (Pre = 6.1(2.5) s, Post = 5.8(2.6), p = 0.08). DGI improved (Pre =19(7), Post = 21 (5), p =0. 04), though Berg did not (p = 0.26). The 9HP improved (Pre = 23(2) s, Post = 21(2), p = 0.04) as did PASAT (Pre = 43(13), Post = 48(11), p = 0.05). Improvements in 9HP were driven by changes in the non-dominant hand. FIS tended to improve (Pre = 42(36), Post = 26(24), p= 0.08). No other sig. differences or trends were noted.
Our preliminary results indicate that ballroom dance can be a fun social form of physical activity for pwMS that can result in improved motor performance, gait, endurance, and cognition. Fatigue may be lessened independent of changes in cardiac autonomic balance (i.e., HRv).