b'Life with MSEExxeerrcciisseeOOnneeSStteeppaattaaTTiimmeeDDaanncceeccaannbbeeaappoowweerrffuullttoooollf orrssyymmppttoommmmaannaaggeemmeennttfoBy Whitney R. WilsonIt is very exciting to see many new therapiesconnect with others, share experiences, and and exercises emerging that are recommendedreceive support. Our Dance for Life community to manage symptoms and improve the quality ofstarted to thrive locally in Gainesville, Fla., in life for those living with MS. Dance, in particular,2018. With the obstacles accompanying the is proving to be a unique and holistic optionCOVID-19 pandemic, it has since expanded that offers numerous benets.around the globe with an option of online One of the more obvious benets is, of course,participation. The community aspect is one enhanced physical health. For individuals withof the most meaningful things dance offers, MS, this includes improved musculoskeletalasitcancombatfeelingsofisolationand functions such as mobility, balance, endurance,support a sense of belongingeven virtually. and strength. The rhythmic movements involvedDance is more than just an exercise; its a in dance can help to maintain muscle tone andcomprehensive therapeutic activity that can coordination, which are often affected by MS.address the multifaceted challenges faced by I often see a positive change in my dancersindividuals with MS. It offers a safe, joyful, stress levels, anxiety, and overall emotionaland beneficial way to engage in physical well-being. Dancing provides an opportunityactivity while also supporting emotional and for self-expression, creativity, joy, and a sensesocial well-being. For those with MS, dance of accomplishment. These can lead to increasedcan be a powerful tool in the journey towards self-esteem and a better overall mood. symptom management and enhancing quality By its nature, dance is a highly adaptableof life. physical activity. A dance class can be offered in such a way that it meets the needs of various abilities, making it an accessible option, especially considering the physical uncertainty that accompanies an MS diagnosis. Whether its a creative movement practicesuch as the Dance for Life class I teachor a structured ballroom class, dance can be adapted to suit the individuals physical capabilities and comfort level.Dance classes also provide a social outlet for individuals with MS and offer a chance to msfocusmagazine.org 18'