What is the role of Exercise with Parkinson’s Disease?

Exercise is a part of healthy living for everyone; however, it is particularly important for individuals who have Parkinson’s disease (PD). It is not just healthy but vital to maintaining muscle strength, balance, mobility, and ability to perform activities of daily living and neuroprotective benefits.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic progressive disease, it causes motor symptoms.

  • Tremors
  • Rigidity
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Poor balance (postural instability)
  • Weakness
  • Lower muscle power
  • Fatigue

Exercising enhances the sense of happiness, even across different disease stages and severities. From the most recent research from the Parkinson’s outcomes project, they have highlighted that people with PD who use exercise as an early intervention with the management of their symptoms resulted in improvements in quality of life and slower progression of the disease.

The benefits of exercising for PD include:

  • Improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination
  • Exercise may also improve cognition, depression, and fatigue, but the research is still ongoing in these areas
  • Exercising may improve thinking, memory and reduce the risk of falls.

There is a variety of ways to exercise. Each type can benefit an individual with PD. The most important element is the intensity, which is how hard you are working, or how high your heart rate is. People with PD who exercise with higher intensity experience greater benefits. But if you are new to exercise or if it’s too hard, remember to decrease the intensity or ask assistance from your GP or an exerciser physiologist at Medicine in Motion.

Overall, there is no one right way to exercise with PD. People at different stages will have different routines that work for them. Finding the type of exercise, you enjoy can be the most important factor.

Learn more about our Parkinson’s group classes HERE

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