Physical activity can prevent poor health and improve outcomes. Almost a third of adults are inactive and in some areas such as Basildon, the rates are increasing. GP practices within the Basildon Central Primary Care Network (PCN) have come together to trial Dance on Prescription in collaboration with local partners. The programme focuses on low impact dance moves designed for mobility, mental health and social interaction.
Dance and movement can improve the quality of life for older people, especially those in care homes and those with long-term health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity and osteoporosis.
It can also help to address psychological issues as it provides mental stimulation, particularly for dementia patients, as well as providing social interaction and helping the patient to feel better by engaging with other people and taking part in society.
Dance on Prescription supports residents to enjoy a better quality of life through dancing. Selected patients are prescribed dancing to help improve their physical health and mental wellbeing. Classes are led by professional dance teachers at a community centre in the local area. The programme also links to walking groups in the Central Basildon Primary Care Network locality.
Dance on Prescription is part of a collaborative project involving Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System, Basildon Council and Active Essex. It’s part of a wider project called Art for Health, which focuses on dance and movement, as well as bringing people together to improve their health outcomes.
The programme is a fantastic example of how working differently and in collaboration with local partners can immensely benefit the health outcomes of local people. It also demonstrates the immensely valuable benefit that social prescribing brings to our local areas – supporting practices to work together and build social connections between patients and communities.