Exercise for people with living with Parkinson’s exercise is not only healthy – it is vital for maintaining balance, mobility, and daily living activities.
There is also a potential neuroprotective effect. Exercising enhances the sense of wellbeing, even across different disease stages and severities.
Research has shown that exercise can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination.
So far, studies have shown:
What happens in the brain to produce these visible benefits? Researchers at the University of Southern California looked at the brains of mice that had exercised under conditions parallel to a human treadmill and discovered that:
Scientists at University of Pittsburgh found that in animal models, exercise induces and increases the beneficial neurotrophic factors – particularly GDNF (glial-derived neurotrophic factor) which reduces the vulnerability of dopamine neurons to damage.
Any form of physical exercise you do without injuring yourself will provide benefit.
Before beginning any new exercise, consult your doctor.
Formal exercise programs balance several different aspects of fitness including strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and endurance.
Each of these areas provide a benefit to people living with Parkinson’s. Achieving a balance that works and engages you in a program you can start, maintain, and expand upon is the goal.
Examples of exercise programs for people living with Parkinson’s include:
Right now! Everyone should exercise more, whether they have Parkinson’s or not.
The best way to see benefits is to exercise on a consistent basis. People living with Parkinson’s enrolled in exercise programs with durations longer than six months, regardless of exercise intensity, have shown significant gains in functional balance and mobility as compared to programs of only two-week or 10-week durations.
Regardless of your condition, always stretch, warm up and cool down properly.
Exercise in a way that is safe for you. Know your limits.
First published by the US Parkinson’s Foundation
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