Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that has a fast progression of motor dysfunction within the first 5 years of diagnosis, showing an annual motor rate of decline of the Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) between 5.2 and 8.9 points. We aimed to determine both motor and non-motor PD symptom progression while participating in dance classes once per week over a period of three years. Longitudinal data was assessed for a total of 32 people with PD using MDS-UPDRS scores. Daily motor rate of decline was zero (slope = 0.000146) in PD-Dancers, indicating no motor impairment, whereas the PD-Reference group showed the expected motor decline across three years (p < 0.01). Similarly, non-motor aspects of daily living, motor experiences of daily living, and motor complications showed no significant decline. A significant group (PD-Dancers and PD-Reference) by days interaction showed that PD who train once per week have less motor impairment (M = 18.75) than PD-References who do not train (M = 24.61) over time (p < 0.05).
Training is effective at slowing both motor and non-motor PD symptoms over three years as shown in decreased scores of the MDS-UPDRS