We’ve heard of whistling while you work, but what about singing while you walk? Preliminary findings from a recent study (Harrison et al, 2017) suggest that those with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease may see improvement (i.e., less variability) in their gait if they sing a little tune while they stroll along. While previous research has demonstrated the benefit of “external rhythmic auditory stimuli” has on gait in those with Parkinson’s, this is the first to use a self-mediated approach.
While singing showed some evidence of benefit, a verbal dual-task condition was found to slow and destabilize gait. Of course, there remains a subgroup of otherwise normal individuals who still find walking and chewing gum risky.
Harrison EC, McNeely ME, Earhart GM. (2017) The feasibility of singing to improve gait in Parkinson disease. Gait & Posture 53:224–229.
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