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Dance for people with chronic breathlessness: a transdisciplinary approach to intervention development

Harrison, Samantha; Bierski, Krzysztof; Burn, Naomi; Mclusky, Sarah; McFaull, Victoria; Russell, Andrew; Williams, Gaynor; Williams, Siân; Macnaughton, Jane

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Samantha Harrison

Krzysztof Bierski

Naomi Burn

Sarah Mclusky

Victoria McFaull

Gaynor Williams

Siân Williams


Objectives: A transdisciplinary research approach was used to develop a holistic understanding of the physical and psychosocial benefits of dance as an intervention for people living with chronic breathlessness. Methods: The dance programme was developed in collaboration with British Lung Foundation Breathe Easy members in NE England (Darlington) and London (Haringey). Members of the Darlington group were invited to participate in the programme. An exercise instructor, trained and mentored by a dance facilitator delivered 60–90 min dance classes for 10 consecutive weeks. Exercise capacity, mobility, quadriceps strength, health status, mood and interoceptive awareness were assessed at baseline and after the 10-week programme. Second-to-second heart rate (HR) monitoring was conducted during one of the classes. Results: Ten individuals were enrolled (n=8 women). Mean (SD) age was 70 (24); Body Mass Index 29.7 (8.1) kg/m2; one participant used oxygen and one a walking aid. Seven completed the dance programme. Improvements in all outcome measures were detected, with the exception of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness, which individuals found hard to comprehend. Eight participants wore HR monitors during one dance class and spent on average 43.5 (21.8) min with HR corresponding to at least moderate intensity physical activity (≥64% HRmax). People found the dance classes enjoyable and those with relevant past experiences who are optimistic, committed to staying well and playful readily adopted the programme. Conclusion: A dance programme bringing both physical and psychosocial benefits for people with chronic breathlessness is acceptable when coproduced and evaluated through a transdisciplinary approach.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 9, 2020
Publication Date 2020-11
Deposit Date Nov 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 11, 2020
Journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Article Number e000696
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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