Use Your Personal Strengths
How can you build on your strengths and minimize your limitations? For example, if you have the strength of helping children enjoy reading, you could exercise that strength by reading to your grandchildren, by listening to them as they read, or by playing a reading game that stimulates both your imagination and theirs.
One of your strengths may be thinking skills. One thinking skill is imagining doing the activity before doing it. For example, imagining writing big can actually help you write big. Another thinking skill is speaking the steps out loud. When combing your hair, try saying hold and comb, to avoid dropping the comb.
Make sure you are exercising. Improving strength, balance and endurance through exercise supports your participation in all sorts of activities. Whether it is dancing or walking to a neighbors house, find an enjoyable way to exercise.
Lastly, be positive. Think, I will do rather than Ill try to and you may be more successful.
Cost A Potential Barrier
Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, Danielle Larson, MD, a movement disorders specialist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, said golf is relevant as an exercise that could improve symptoms because it’s already a hobby for many people in the age range of patients with Parkinson’s. Unlike tai chi, golf entails walking, which provides additional benefit, she said.
“This study, though small, suggests that individuals are likely to continue with golf,” said Larson. “It is important to have a variety of exercise options to offer to patients as well, as their interest in the exercise will ensure their commitment to it, so adding golf to this list would be beneficial.”
Future research should assess whether access to golf is a barrier to sustaining this activity for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
“In this study, golf was offered free of cost. However, golf typically could be a costly activity vs tai chi, which can be done at home,” said Larson. “In addition to potential socioeconomic barriers, there may be logistical barriers, such as location relative to the golf course, or cultural barriers to golf participation that should be explored in future research.”
The study was funded by Jim and Lucy Fox. Wills and Larson have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
American Academy of Neurology 2021 Annual Meeting: Abstract 1962. To be presented April 2021.
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Golf And Parkinsons Disease Dr Anne
Dr Anne-Marie Wills, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, USA, has been conducting research into the effects of activity on Parkinsons Disease patients.
This common chronic disease affects 1-2 in 1000 people worldwide, and Wills impression is that the Parkinsons disease patients she sees who engage with golf fared better than those that did not.
As a result, she has designed and is undertaking a study comparing golf with Tai Chi in terms of strength and balance .
I have been looking at people who have Parkinsons already, who have some level of balance impairment, and looking at the effect of a 10-week, twice weekly, intervention, for either golf or Tai Chi, said Wills who presented her study design at the 2018 Golf & Health Scientific Meeting at High Elms Golf Club, UK.
Tai Chi is the gold standard for people with Parkinsons, in terms of balance and prevention of fallsso I am trying to see if golf could be comparable.
From the preliminary patients that have gone through this study we have seen really great responses in terms of their enjoyment of the programme. Im hoping that it will turn out to be as effective as Tai Chi in terms of balance and that well be able to come up with a programme that patients can do in the real world. This pilot programme is in part to come up with a programme that golf instructors would then be able to roll-out at their own local site so we can spread this more broadly.
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Trying To Play Golf With Parkinson’s
Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I have been a life long tennis player and rarely played golf more than 3-4 times a year, much to Mr. Twitchys dismay. Golf was frustrating for me. As one golf instructor told me, I was swinging the golf club like a tennis racket. That doesnt work in golf. This year, because tennis was not an option for so long, once our club re-opened the golf course, Mr. Twitchy saw the opportunity to get me on the golf course. We started playing 9 holes in the late afternoon a couple of days a week.
Getting out on the golf course a couple of days a week definitely helped me hit the ball better and more consistently, that is, until Sunday. I started out ok, but it was clear that my tremors were going to be with me the whole time. Sure enough, it got worse and worse. I could hardly hit the ball. We finally gave up after 8 holes. I just could not go on anymore.
The tremors lingered another day. Two days later, I was feeling much better. Hopefully my next outing on the golf course will be more successful.
Which Types Of Exercise Are Best For Parkinsons
It is important to state upfront that there is no one best type of exercise for people with PD. It is most important to choose an exercise regimen that you enjoy, and will continue to do.
However, beyond doing exercise that you will stick with, there are some additional concepts to consider when designing an exercise program for someone with PD.
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How The Participants Responded
In the UK study, 14 healthy people, aged 45 and over, put on the helmet for six minutes, twice daily, over a period of four weeks.
This was carried out alongside a control group of 13 members using a dummy PBM-T helmet.
Dr Chazot has been working to find the most effective wavelength for the infrared. In this experiment it was a wavelength of 1068 nanometres.
The researchers conducted a series of memory, verbal and motor-skills tests on the participants in both groups before and after the treatment period to see what improvements in function might have been achieved.
They found a signicant improvement in performance in motor function , memory performance , delayed memory and brain processing speed.
My Husband And Golf: Francescas Story
Francescas husband, John, was an avid golfer who adapted his golf as a result of Parkinsons. After a nasty injury on the course, it was through Johns recovery that they both saw golf is about someones ability, not their disability.
John always loved golf. Not in a low handicap, Rory McIlroy, fiercely competitive sort of way but because it took him out in the fresh air with friends. It gave him exercise, enjoyment, and purpose.
Hed played on and off for years, and when we moved to Cornwall in 2004, he joined a family-owned club at Radnor, just outside Redruth.
The club, of course, has its excellent players, but all abilities peacefully co-exist here, and John spent many happy hours on its sea breezy course.
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What Does The Helmet Do
In the study, the magic helmet delivered infrared light deep into the participants brain for six minutes per treatment.
This stimulates mitochondria, the power factories contained in our cells, that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the biochemical reaction in the brains cells.
The researchers found that this mitochondrial activity can lead to a rise in the level of an organic compound called adenosine triphosphate .
This compound provides energy to drive processes in living cells and helps nerve cells repair, but its markedly decreased in dementia patients.
The infrared therapy can also increase levels of nitric oxide, and therefore blood flow in the brain, by improving the flexibility of the membrane that lines the inside of blood vessels.
This opens up blood vessels so more oxygen can reach the white matter deep in the brain.
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What Type Of Exercise Should I Do If I Have Parkinson’s Disease
Exercise is a planned, structured, repetitive activity that is intended to improve physical fitness. There is no right exercise for people with Parkinsons. Everyones regimen will differ, depending on overall health, symptoms and previous level of activity. Any exercise helps, and a variety of exercise types may provide well-rounded benefits.
Aerobic exercise involves activities that challenge your cardiorespiratory system such as walking, biking, running, and activities in the pool. Participating in aerobic exercise at least three days a week for 30-40 minutes may slow Parkinsons decline.
Strength training involves using your body weight or other tools to build muscle mass and strength. Strength training two days per week, starting with low repetition and weight, may be beneficial in Parkinsons disease. A focus on extensor muscles, or muscles in the back of the body, can help with posture.
Stretching two or more days per week can be beneficial to maintain range of motion and posture. Holding each stretch of major muscle groups for 30 to 60 seconds can improve muscle length.
Balance and agility training
This type of training often combines aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training. Examples include:
- Tai chi, yoga or Pilates.
What Kind Of Exercise Can I Do If I Have Trouble Standing Or Walking
Even with advanced Parkinsons symptoms, you can still reap the benefits of some activities. If you have trouble walking or balancing, hold a bar or rail to exercise and stretch. If standing or getting up is tough, exercise and stretch in a chair or bed. Physical exercise performed in a seated position, such as biking on a recumbent bike can allow you to exert yourself in a safe manner.
Facial exercises may help combat difficulties speaking or swallowing:
- Chew your food longer and more vigorously.
- Exaggerate your face and lip movements when you speak.
- Make faces in the mirror.
- Sing or read out loud.
Mental exercises give your brain a workout and can improve memory. For example:
- Name as many animals as you can in 1 minute.
- Play brain games and do puzzles.
- Solve math problems in your head.
You can also add activity in small bits throughout your day:
- Park further away from stores so you walk longer distances.
- Stretch or do leg exercises while watching TV.
- Swing your arms more when you walk, and take long strides.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
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Find An Occupational Therapist
Are you looking for a more personalized plan? If so, request a referral for occupational therapy from your neurologist or movement disorder specialist. Ask them if they can recommend an occupational therapist with knowledge of PD. You can also contact your state OT association, or local rehabilitation facility or home care agency, to find an OT. You can find more information on the American Occupational Therapy Association website at www.aota.org.
How Can I Increase Movement Throughout The Day
Too often people think they need to attend a class at a gym for it to count as movement. Thats not true. Whether its mopping the floor, gardening, or vacuuming, its all activity. A recent study found that participating in these non-exercise physical activities was the best predictor of the UPDRS motor scores . One key to managing rigidity is to move often throughout the day.
Five simple ways to increase movement during the day
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Tip: Enhancing Hand Coordination
We use our hands throughout the day in all activities. People with PD may notice changes in the ease in which they perform hand and finger motions. An occupational therapist can help evaluate and make recommendations to improve hand coordination:
- Exercise hands and fingers regularly
- Engage in enjoyable and stimulating hand exercises, such as gardening or knitting
- Use toothbrushes, hairbrushes, silverware and writing tools with larger handles
- Use both hands in tasks – dont favor one hand over the other
- Schedule tasks that require greater hand control for times when you are well rested and medications are working well
Dementia Therapy: Gadget Improves Memory And Brain Processing
There is no drug that stops dementia, and none that can bring back the lost memories.
Parkinsons disease is likewise stuck at having its symptoms dampened as it remorselessly takes over a body.
Where are the cures? Theres always something on the brink.
According to news from Durham University, a recent trial of a new hi-tech therapy boosted the memory, brain processing and motor functions of 14 people enrolled in a UK pilot study.
The participants were healthy people, aged 45 and over, and with normal intellectual function for their age.
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What To Expect From Physical Therapy For Parkinsons
We offer physical therapy for Parkinsons disease patients to help:
- Increase strength, endurance, movement and control
- Improve flexibility, gait and balance
- Address freezing and fall prevention
- Develop a daily exercise regimen to keep a person mobile
- Customize a home exercise program to improve mobility problems and prevent or reduce the impact of future anticipated problems
- Educate and involve the caregiver to help at home with functional activities such as bathtub transfers, getting in/out of chair or bed
- Educate the patient and caregiver and implement adopted LSVT Big exercises
What To Expect From Speech
Changes in Voice or Speech: A speech impairment is called a dysarthria. These changes may include having a mono pitch, decreased loudness, variable rate of speech and decreased articulatory precision. Additionally, the vocal quality may be breathy and/or hoarse.
The recognized treatment for this disorder is the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment protocol. This is a four- or eight-week program depending on frequency of visits that targets improving the loudness and clarity of speech by participating in repetitive exercises.
Changes in Swallowing: A swallowing impairment is called dysphagia. Symptoms may include drooling, having a wet or gurgly voice, coughing/throat clearing/choking when eating or drinking, feeling food stuck in the throat, and having a type of pneumonia attributable to swallowing deficits called aspiration pneumonia.
Treatment is focused on improving the strength and speed of movement of the swallowing musculature. A patients diet may also need to be modified to improve safety. The patient will also be trained in swallowing strategies to optimize safety.
Cognitive Impairment: Cognitive impairment is a common non-motor complaint of people with Parkinsons. Changes may be seen in the persons attention, organization, memory, visual spatial skills and language.
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Norton Program Uses Golf As Therapy For Parkinson’s Patients
LOUISVILLE, Ky. Golf has been a part of Jay Millers life for years, and when asked, Do you play? he answers the same way many of us would.
Not well, but I play.
The thing is, its only been in the last four years or so that golf has taken on a more important role in Jays life, in that it helps him live his life.
“July 31st of ’09. Never will forget that day.
It was that day that Jay had a doctors appointment that last two and a half hours.
“I’ve never spent two and a half hours with a doctor in my life, he said. I’ve been very fortunate.”
But it was the last thing the doctor said that made all the difference.
“At the end of it she said, ‘I have good news for you: You have Parkinson’s, he said with a smile. And I said, ‘You’re going to have to explain that one to me!’ But she said there’s a lot of other things that it could’ve been that could’ve been worse.”
Still, even with the news not being the worst, Jay knew that his life would never be the same and lets face it, thats a scary notion.
“As it progresses, which it will, it effects the way you move and that type of thing, he explained.
“The presentation is different from person to person so I think that’s the hardest thing is you never know what you can expect, said Norton Neuroscience physical therapist Megan Cash. People were having balancing impairments and mobility issues. Parkinsons was effecting their ability to get on the course and swing a golf club.”
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How To Start Exercising If Youre Living With Parkinsons
Safety is key. The first thing you need to do is talk with your neurologist and primary care doctor to make sure that the exercise regimen that you embark upon is safe for you.
Next, ask for a referral for physical therapy. A physical therapist will be able to figure out what movement challenges you may have and design a program to help you improve. There are certain physical therapists with additional training in Parkinsons. Your physical therapist will work with you for your allotted sessions, and then can help you plan your ongoing exercise regimen that is tailored to you. You can contact the APDA National Rehabilitation Resource Center for Parkinsons Disease for help finding resources in your area.
Additionally, physical therapy can help counteract the tendency for people with PD to reduce the size of their movements. The Lee Silverman Voice Technique has designed a program called LSVT-BIG which trains participants to make big movements. You can search for an LSVT-trained professional near you.
Anyone starting out on an exercise program could benefit from APDAs Be Active & Beyond exercise guide which includes clear photos with simple instructions that are easy to follow, with exercises that address all levels of fitness.
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