Parkinson’s disease is a disorder which affects nerve cells (or neurons) in the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can include body trembling, slow movement, poor balance, poor coordination, and/or body stiffness. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, exercise can sometimes help people suffering from Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Exercise can benefit people with Parkinson’s in a variety of ways: stronger muscles can improve the body’s flexibility and mobility, help relieve depression (common among Parkinson’s patients), can slow the disease’s progress, and may even lessen Parkinson’s symptoms.
Here are some guidelines to remember when exercising with Parkinson’s disease:
1. Consult an expert when considering the frequency and types of exercises you are going to do. Most fitness trainers don’t have the expertise necessary to understand your medical condition so your best bet is to work with an experienced physical therapist.
2. Be sure to include a variety of gentle, stretching exercises.
3. Make sure to move at your own pace; the intensity of your Parkinson’s symptoms will change day-to-day so recognize what you’re able to do each day.
4. Start by exercising for a few minutes per day and gradually move up to 15 or 20 minutes of daily exercise.
5. Work on walking skills; practicing walking skills helps improve your gait and increases your heart rate.
6. Incorporate resistance training to build muscle and increase your coordination.
7. Balance training is an essential part of your exercise routine. Depending on the severity of your symptoms you may be able to balance while standing on one leg at a time or simplify balance training to standing on both feet but practice shifting your weight from one foot to the other.
8. Make the mind-body connection; activities like yoga and tai chi help you focus and be present in the moment while also improving your strength and coordination.
In addition to exercising, eating a healthy diet is another lifestyle habit that can often benefit people with Parkinson’s disease. Reducing stress and allowing your body the rest it needs can offer additional benefits. You may want to consider physical therapy, speech therapy and/or occupational therapy to find additional lifestyle changes and accommodations to help live the best quality of life you can with Parkinson’s disease. Whether you are looking for exercise equipment to help use exercise to live a fuller life with Parkinson’s disease, or you’re interested in the variety of special, Parkinsons products such as weighted utensils or home handrails there are multitudes of products which help those with Parkinson’s life their best quality of life regardless of the severity of Parkinson’s symptoms.
Behind Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neuorodegenerative disease in America. A consistent exercise program can benefit people with Parkinson’s in a variety of ways including stronger muscles to improve the body’s flexibility and mobility, helps relieve depression (common among Parkinson’s patients), slow the disease’s progress, and may even lessen Parkinson’s symptoms. If you know someone with Parkinson’s disease be sure and share this information and encourage all you know to incorporate an exercise program into their life for a variety of health benefits. Additional information on Parkinsons symptoms and treatments can be found here.