Try Seated Exercises If You Have Limited Mobility
Performing strength and flexibility exercises while sitting can help you stay fit and improve your range of motion all with minimal stress and wear and tear on your muscles and joints.
An example of a seated stretching routine recommended by the Parkinsons Foundation is the hamstring stretch. To do this stretch:
An example of a strength exercise you can perform while sitting down is the shoulder blade squeeze. To perform this exercise:
Your physical therapist can recommend additional seated exercises.
Physical Therapy For Parkinsons Disease
Its well-known that exercise of all kinds is beneficial for patients with Parkinsons disease. But physical therapy, in particular, is key. Why? A professional can guide you through the right moves to increase mobility, strength and balance, and help you remain independent, says Denise Padilla-Davidson, a Johns Hopkins physical therapist who works with patients who have Parkinsons. Here are things a therapist may work on:
Note: Please discuss any exercise program with your physician/neurologist and get a referral to a physical therapist or trainer with expertise in Parkinsons disease before starting any specific program.
Start Small And Build Safely
Your personal exercise plan should not exceed your current fitness level in order to avoid injury and frustration. Start small and build safely. Remember to begin with your physicians clearance and build a PEP that will work for you. I highly recommend setting at least one exercise goal and recruiting an exercise buddy to keep you going week after week.
Several cats live in our house and I had been struggling to lift a box of cat litter. Soon after my diagnosis, I began following a regular strength training plan. It became so much easier to lift, carry, and pour a 40-lb box of litter.
There is no guarantee this will happen for everyone, particularly as the disease progresses, but Ive been very buoyed by the results of my exercise plan. I would love for you to experience a similarly good outcome.
Engage with the community by telling your story, or participating in a forum.
Read Also: Micrographia In Parkinson’s Disease
Prt Improves Updrs Scores Quality Of Life And Strength:
A study by Corcos et al in 2013 examined the effects of progressive resistance exercise for people with Parkinsons Disease. Their study took place over the course of two years so there was a long term follow-up. In this study, individuals with Parkinsons Disease were randomly assigned to the experimental group where they performed progressive resistance training, or the control group where they participated in the modified fitness counts program which includes stretching, balance, and strength training . Individuals performed strength exercises two days per week for two years. They found that the individuals that performed the progressive resistance exercise had a better improvement on the motor portion of the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale while off medications compared to those that performed the balance, strengthening, and stretching program. Additionally, those that performed the progressive resistance training had higher scores on a subjective questionnaire of their quality of life . The group that performed progressive resistance training also had a more significant improvement in their strength which was measured by calculating maximum muscle torque in certain muscle groups.
Strengths And Limitations Of This Study
- Search in six major databases.
- More relevant studies identified compared to previous meta-analyses.
- Reviewing process followed recommendations by Cochrane Collaboration.
- Owing to the uncertain definition of progressive resistance training, it is possible that some relevant studies remained undetected.
Recommended Reading: Possible Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinsons Exercises: Strength Training
In Parkinsons disease, the muscles work to compensate for abnormal postures and motor movements become more difficult. Strength training builds muscle mass to support the muscles in adopting a correct posture.
Experts suggest that each major muscle group is trained 2 to 3 days a week. Do not train the same muscle groups consecutively to allow for proper recovery. Strength training exercises focus on boosting muscle strength while simultaneously improving balance and endurance. The majority of the below strength training exercises are done in two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions and are completed with either weights, resistance bands, body weight, or gym equipment. Start slowly and increase as tolerated.
Standard Protocols And Patient Consent
A prospective longitudinal, randomized, controlled intervention study was conducted from September 2010 to September 2012. Patients with idiopathic PD diagnosed by neurologist experts in movement disorders were recruited from an outpatient rehabilitation department of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The inclusion criteria were age between 45 years and 80 years, a diagnosis of PD, and stage 13 on the Hoehn and Yahr scale.16 The exclusion criteria comprised any disease that hindered the application of an evaluation instrument, clinical comorbidities that make it impossible to use physical effort, individuals of New York Heart Association classes III and IV, significant physical limitations, and visual or hearing impairment. The patients were followed for 12 weeks. All subjects gave informed consent and the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Institute of Neurology Deolindo Couto .
Don’t Miss: Senator Susan Collins Parkinson’s Disease
Qualitative Analysis Of 12 Included Studies
shows the descriptive characteristics of included studies. Publication years varied from 1997 to 2014.
Results of meta-analyses
The effect of PRT on fast walking speed was assessed by pooling samples of three studies.,, The pooled sample consisted of 49 cases versus 55 controls. The pooled effect size was 0.06ms in favour of intervention, but below the minimal detectable change of 0.25ms as suggested previously. The I2 was 61%, indicating substantial heterogeneity.
The effect of PRT on comfortable walking speed was assessed by pooling samples of four studies.,,, The pooled sample consisted of 60 cases versus 66 controls. The pooled effect size was 0.03ms in favour of intervention, but below the minimal detectable change of 0.18ms as suggested previously. The I2 was 15%, indicating insignificant heterogeneity.
The effect of PRT on Timed Up and Go test was assessed by pooling samples of three studies.,, The size of pooled sample was 26 cases versus 29 controls. The pooled effect size was statistically insignificant 0.71s in favour of intervention and below the minimal detectable change of 3.5s as suggested previously. The I2 was 0%, indicating insignificant heterogeneity.
The Egger’s test for asymmetry of the funnel plot did not reveal a potential publication bias in any of the syntheses.
Where Can I Find Support If I Have Parkinson’s Disease And Want To Exercise
You can find exercise support in your community. For example, many gyms and community centers offer seated exercise classes for people who struggle with balance. Ask your healthcare provider for ideas if you have Parkinsons disease and want to exercise.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Exercise is an important part of managing Parkinsons disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about your exercise program and choose activities you enjoy so you stay motivated to get up and move every day.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/08/2021.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does It Take To Diagnose Parkinson’s
Working With A Physical Therapist To Create An Exercise Plan
Physical therapists are experts in getting people moving. While most people think physical therapy is just for rehabbing after an injury, its an important part of preventive care and treatment for patients with chronic conditions like Parkinsons disease.
Your experience with Parkinsons disease is unique. A physical therapist can help with Parkinsons by designing a personalized program for you. Theyll teach you specific exercises to manage your unique symptoms and keep you engaged in activity.
How often should you meet with a physical therapist? Checking in at least once or twice a year can help you develop an exercise plan that fits with your current level of mobility and the season.
Sensitivity Analysis And Publication Bias
We used the fast gait velocity analysis, which included in the most literature, as an example to conduct sensitivity analysis and publication bias. Sensitivity analyses suggested that no single study could affect the total effect size by omitting the articles one-by-one. The shape of the funnel plot was generally symmetric in the overall publication, the data points were equally distributed around the funnel and no obvious small sample effects. These showed that no indication of significant publication bias was, respectively, found which is consistent with the Begg’s test and Egger’s test in the overall population.
Figure 10. Funnel plot for the assessment of publication bias.
Recommended Reading: Atypical Parkinson’s Disease Life Expectancy
Weight Training Improves Parkinsons Symptoms
Twice-Weekly Resistance Training Sessions Can Improve Tremors, Slowness, and Rigidity
Feb 16, 2012 — Weight training twice a week may reduce the stiffness, slowness, and tremors often seen in people with Parkinsonâs disease, a new study shows.
A progressive neurologic disease, Parkinsonâs affects up to 1 million people in the U.S. Symptoms include tremors and difficulty with movement and walking. The study shows that weight training for two years trumps stretching and balance exercises for these so-called motor symptoms.
The findings are to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans.
In the study, 48 people with Parkinsonâs disease participated in a weight-training program or another program aimed at improving flexibility, balance, and strength. Participants exercised for one hour twice a week for two years. They were aged 59, on average, and had had Parkinsonâs for about seven years.
Everyone saw benefits after six months, but these benefits lasted two years among those in the weight-training group.
It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen.
âAnyone can do it, from the newly diagnosed to people with advanced Parkinsonâs in wheelchairs. It is never too late to start,â Corcos says.
People in wheelchairs may be able to exercise their ankles using resistance bands, for example.
Parkinsons Home Exercise Program
You dont need to join a gym or purchase expensive fitness equipment to stay active with Parkinsons disease. On the contrary, there are many great exercises that you can do from the comfort of your home, regardless of which stage of the disease you are in. Take a look at some great examples in the sections below.
Don’t Miss: How To Confirm Parkinson’s Disease
Respiratory Muscle Training For Parkinsons Disease: Be Proactive About Respiratory Health And Quality Of Life
Patients with Parkinsons Disease often develop respiratory weakness and lower lung capacities. This greatly diminishes quality of life, leading to difficulties with breathing, speaking, and swallowing. Respiratory weakness can also lead to one of the most common causes of death in people with Parkinsons Disease aspiration pneumoniaespecially in the late stages of the disease.
Individuals with PD can experience over 50% decreases in maximum inspiratory pressure and maximum expiratory pressure, which is essentially the force with which one can inhale or exhale, respectively . Poor ability to inhale may be attributable to reduced respiratory muscle strength and increased chest wall rigidity , which are two common characteristics of PD.
In short, living the best possible life with PD includes taking preventative measures to reduce PDs impact on the respiratory system. There are currently no standard protocols for respiratory therapy for people with PD, but research is beginning to show some promise for exercising the respiratory system just like one should exercise the rest of the body.
Respiratory Muscle Training
Research on techniques to improve respiratory health is in its infancy, but some studies have indicated that a technique called Respiratory Muscle Training may significantly improve respiratory muscle strength . RMT involves inhaling and/or exhaling against resistance through a device called a respiratory muscle trainer.
How Hard Should I Exercise If I Have Parkinson’s Disease
A rating of perceived exertion is a good way to measure intensity. On a scale from 0 to 10, 0 would be how you feel while sitting or lying down, while 10 would be the maximum effort you can give. Building up to an effort between 5 to 8 means you are exercising at a high intensity. A good gauge is, if you can have a conversation with someone while exercising, you should probably increase your intensity.
Don’t Miss: Is Coughing A Sign Of Parkinson’s Disease
How To Exercise With Parkinsons
Whether you’re a first-time exerciser or a lifelong athlete, the key to working out with Parkinsons is to safely and regularly move your body in a variety of ways. Your fitness regimen should include these four main categories of exercise:
- Aerobic activity
- Balance, agility, and multi-task exercises
People with Parkinsons should strive to perform aerobic activity at least three times weekly and to complete exercises from the other categories two to three times each week.
In total, the Parkinsons Foundation suggests performing 150 minutes of moderate tovigorous exercise weekly.
To help you achieve this goal, try these helpful tips:
- Invest in a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike. This will make it convenient to perform aerobic exercise from your home, regardless of the weather.
- Obtain a set of light hand weights from a local exercise shop or thrift store. These can be used for a wide variety of strength training exercises.
- Follow along with one of the many online exercise classes on YouTube that are tailored to people with Parkinsons disease. The Parkinsons Foundation and the Davis Phinney Foundation offer many great online exercise videos.
- Connect with a workout buddy by finding a local Parkinsons support group associated with the American Parkinson Disease Association
Parkinson’s Disease And Movement Disorders Center
Our center provides compassionate and timely treatment to patients with movement disorders, such as dystonia, ataxia, essential tremor and similar conditions. But our mission goes beyond patient care excellence. By offering educational events and support groups, we empower patients and caregivers to become better partners in their health.
Recommended Reading: Katharine Hepburn Parkinson’s Disease
Should I Talk To My Healthcare Provider Before I Start Exercising If I Have Parksinsons Disease
Talk to your neurologist and your primary care provider before starting a new exercise regimen. They can:
- Counsel you on how intense your exercises can be.
- Recommend exercises appropriate for your individual health.
- Refer you to a physical therapist to create a personal exercise program.
- Warn about exercises to avoid based on your particular challenges or limitations.
Also Check: Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease Webmd
Physiotherapy And Parkinsons Disease: Learn How Stretching Can Improve Your Symptoms
Parkinsons disease is the most common neurodegenerative motor disorder, with motor symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, inertia or freezing.
Muscle strength can be reduced in people with Parkinsons disease, not because the muscle itself is damaged, but because the brains control on the muscle is reduced, and partly because the muscles are used less intensively . Such motor symptoms can be painful, and there is medication that can successfully reduce them. Paired with medication, an exercise routine that includes stretching can improve motor symptoms.
In general, stretching is an important part of the exercise routine. Daily stretches keep and improve flexibility, prevent stiffness, lead to improved balance and posture, and daily activities such as walking and writing become much easier to do. As the experiences of people with Parkinsons disease are different from one another, so is the stretching routine. Make sure to discuss with your physiotherapist to find a program specific to your needs.
You May Like: What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
How To Find Your Expert Physical Therapist For Parkinsons Disease
It is important to find a physical therapist who has specialty training and experience working with PD. You may find experienced physical therapists working in hospital outpatient departments, home health agencies, nursing homes or within the community close to your home. Ask your neurologist for a referral at your next appointment.
The Parkinsons Foundation Helpline at 1-800- 4PD-INFO can help you locate an experienced physical therapist near you who is trained to work with people with PD, and provide questions to ask a potential physical therapist to assess their experience.
Strength Training As A Treatment
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinsons. With that in mind, science has focused on ways to improve the quality of life for those with the disease.
Among the proven treatment options is something we know well: strength training.
Strength training reverses some of the physical effects of Parkinsons and can possibly match the physical ability of Parkinsons sufferers to that of those without the disease.
Also Check: Early Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease Nhs
How Often Should I Exercise
Science has clearly shown that the benefits of exercise can be felt after just a few weeks of practice, as long as the frequency, duration and intensity are sufficient, regardless of the starting health condition. And to maintain the gains, the practice simply needs to be maintained over the long term sometimes over a period of several months and with the right support.
Even in an advanced stage of Parkinsons, the simple act of adding 30 minutes of physical activity per week can help reduce loss of mobility and decline in quality of life. People with Parkinsons disease are recommended to get 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, which corresponds with the World Health Organization guidelines for adults.
Regardless of the type of physical activity performed, you can expect positive effects. What matters most is attendance, the level of effort, and a sense of security and self-efficacy. Physical activity is a great treatment that can help all people living with Parkinsons disease.
About the author: