Do you have clients who want to improve their balance and body control? Encourage them to try ballet. A study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology (2015; doi: 10.1152/jn.00758.2015) found that individuals who regularly practiced the dance form had better muscle coordination.
Researchers observed muscular control patterns among trained ballet dancers and subjects with no ballet experience. Walking patterns and muscle activity were tracked as participants walked across a floor, along a wide beam and on a narrow beam. There were no significant differences between groups during the floor walk or the wide-beam protocol. During the challenging narrow-beam exercise, however, dancers walked farther than their untrained counterparts. The authors theorized that the dancers might have done better because they engaged more motor nodules.
“Motor modules in experts had less muscle co-activity and were more consistent than in novices, reflecting greater efficiency in muscle output,” the authors explained. “Moreover, the pool of motor modules shared between beam and overground walking was larger in experts compared to novices, suggesting greater generalization of motor module function across multiple behaviors.”
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