Sunday, August 7, 2022

Strength Training Exercises For Parkinson’s

Strength Training Helps Build Muscle Mass

Parkinsons Disease Exercises: Arm Strength

Strength training can involve lifting weights, using machines at the gym, using your own body weight for resistance, or even using common household items like a milk jug filled with sand, the Parkinsons Foundation notes. Your strength training should focus on the following muscle groups:

  • Core muscles
  • Arm muscles
  • Hands and wrists

In general, strength training should be done two to three times per week, but scheduled so that youre not targeting the same muscles on consecutive days, as your muscles need to rest and recover, the foundation advises.

As with stretching exercises, strength training can be performed while standing, sitting, or while on the ground.

The Wisconsin Parkinson Association recommends several exercises to help strengthen your grip and improve your reach. Tasks such as handwriting and reaching for items on higher shelves can be a challenge for people with Parkinsons disease, and hand exercises can help minimize these issues.

In general, resistance training helps build and maintain muscle mass, Subramanian says. The stronger you are, the more independent youll be.

Exercise And Physical Therapy

Research has shown that regular exercise benefits people with Parkinsons disease.


  • reduces stiffness
  • improves mobility, posture, balance and gait

Aerobic exercise increases oxygen delivery and neurotransmitters to keep our heart, lungs, and nervous system healthy. General exercise may also reduce depression. Learning-based memory exercises can also help keep our memory sharp .

What types of exercise are best for people with Parkinsons disease?

There is increasing evidence that aerobic and learning-based exercises could be neuroprotective in aging individuals and those with neurodegenerative disease. Facilitating exercise programs that challenge our heart and lungs as well as promote good biomechanics, good posture, trunk rotation and normal rhythmic, symmetric movements are the best. Dancing to music may be particularly good for decreasing stiffness.

Types of exercises that do this:

  • Walking outside or in a mall
  • Dancing

Types of exercises that promote cardiopulmonary fitness:

  • Paced walking
  • Hiking using walking sticks
  • Swimming with different strokes with the eyes open and closed not only challenge motor learning but also increase heart rate and provide good cardiopulmonary conditioning.
  • New bodyweight-supported treadmills can also be helpful to protect from falling, and to facilitate easier coordinated movements for fast walking with a long stride or jogging.

Types of exercise that do NOT challenge motor planning:

Is there any value in strength training?

Effects Of Physical Exercise On The Treatment Of Parkinsons Disease

Other therapeutic strategies have been evaluated clinically and scientifically in recent years in the search for an action to reduce clinical problems of PD, such as, non-pharmacological interventions like physiotherapy and physical exercise . Rehabilitation through physical therapy has a variety of goals and methods that generally promote benefits in parkinsonian mobility, posture, and balance. However, some limitations have been observed in a consensual way by some researchers in two topics: in relation to the benefits that seem to be more immediate , and the variety and low methodological quality of the studies . Other nonpharmacological approaches to rehabilitation in Parkinson’s disease are the practice of different modalities of physical exercises such as walking, running, strength training, whole body vibration and functional exercises, which are related to the reduction in the risk of falls, decreased motor symptoms, motor performance improvements, balance and gait improvements, positive repercussions in quality of life and executive functions .

Kurtais et al. investigated the effects of six weeks of supervised treadmill walking, three times a week for 40 minutes in patients with mild to moderate PD, and observed significant improvements in lower limb functional parameters such as walking, balance, and agility, and in related parameters, the adaptations promoted by aerobic exercise as increase of peak VO2 and caloric expenditure in METs .

Read Also: Prayer For Parkinson’s Disease

What Types Of Exercise Can Help Manage Parkinsons Disease

There are several types of exercises you can do to manage Parkinsons disease. You can create a varied routine based on your specific concerns, fitness level, and overall health.

Aim to do at least a few minutes of movement each day. Include exercises that improve cardiovascular health, flexibility, and strength. If you change up your exercises every week. your body can learn new ways to move.

There are a few different types of exercise that may be especially helpful to those with Parkinsons, including:

  • physical and occupational therapy

Keep On Moving Exercises To Do At Home

Exercises For Parkinson

Four short videos designed to be challenging and engaging, including physical amplitude, arms and legs working and thinking together, brain exercise, daily-life moves / dance-like exercise. Repeat them as often as you need to improve your individual outcomes.

Coming soon – breath and voice exercise.

Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s Hallucinations Commercial

Multitask Movement And Cognition

Multitasking challenges balance and coordination by adding multiple components to any Parkinsons exercise. Physical coordination results from exercises such as raising a leg in an up and down motion from a seated position while moving arms in the opposite direction.

Cognitive tasks can be incorporated into physical activities to further enhance coordination. For example, count backward, sing a song, or recite the alphabet during any exercise.

Strategies To Improve Adherence

Patient adherence will be encouraged in the prerandomisation recruitment consultation. Each patient will be reminded of the session by a telephone call on the day of the meeting. Patient frequencies will be recorded using REDCap. In case of absence, the Intervention Monitoring Committee will contact the patient to clarify the reason for the absence and to reschedule the session. Leaving the session before completion and the reason will also be recorded. Adherence will be reported as a percentage of fully accomplished intervention sessions without protocol deviations given the total number of scheduled sessions .

You May Like: Parkinson Silverware

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

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

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.

Flexibility training

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:

  • Dancing.
  • Tai chi, yoga or Pilates.

Selection Criteria For Studies

Exercises for Parkinson’s: Strengthening Exercises

Strength training was defined as an intervention in which participants exercised a muscle or group of muscles against an external resistance. For this study, we considered as external resistance cycle ergometer, weight machine, elastic band, punching bag, and water. In further analysis, we included articles in which the effect of strength training in subjects affected by PD was evaluated and the articles that matched the following inclusion criteria based on PICO principles:

  • randomized controlled trials related to both sexes

  • stages 13 on the Hoehn and Yahr scale

  • study design comparing the effects of strength training versus different exercise protocol

  • study outcomes: muscle strength, physical performance, quality of life

  • training/assessment of subjects during the on medication period

  • articles written in English.

Exclusion criteria were as follows:

  • observational studies

  • studies with healthy or non-exercise controls

  • studies employing supplementary intervention therapies in addition to strength training

  • studies with tailored exercise programs to meet individual capacity.

Two authors independently screened the articles by title and abstract against the selection criteria. Articles that were unclear from their title or abstract were reviewed against the selection criteria through the full text. Any discrepancies between authors were resolved through discussion. The second step was to screen all full-text articles that passed the first step.

Read Also: Diseases Similar To Parkinsons

The Potential Neuroprotective Effect Of Exercise

Arguably the most important benefit of exercise if you have Parkinsons disease is its neuroprotective effects. The Parkinsons Foundation defines neuroprotection as defenses against the damage, degeneration, and/or death of neurons, or the cells in your nervous system.

This is important, given that Parkinsons interferes with the neurons in your brain that control body movement.

In fact, the Parkinsons Foundation says that interventions that provide neuroprotective benefits, including exercise, can change the course of Parkinsons disease in other words, slow the progression of symptoms.

Putting It All Together

It can be overwhelming to think about adding all of these exercises to your daily or weekly routine. Consider a phased approach, where you’ll work in one element every week or every other week. If you try to take on too much out of the gate you could hurt yourself, especially if you are starting from a relatively sedentary lifestyle.

In addition, “weekend warrior” athletics can you put you at risk of injury. Start small and steady and gradually increase the number of days per week that you are exercising. The goal is to exercise at least 2.5 hours per week but many patients find further benefit from more frequent and longer duration exercise .

There are various types of activities that will incorporate a few or all of the exercises mentioned above. Examples include dance, boxing and other Parkinson’s-specific classes. I recommend that patients change it up to avoid boredom. The muscles will get bored of the same exercises over and over and they stop responding to exercise. The brain gets bored as well – it needs a challenge! And of course, psychologically it becomes a chore to do the same exercises over and over. For example, some patients will do cardiovascular three days per week, work on machines three days per week, stretch for 10 minutes daily, and do tai chi on the seventh day.

You May Like: Judy Woodruff Parkinson’s

Parkinsons Exercises: Endurance And Cardio

Parkinsons exercises for endurance and the cardiovascular system are not as low in intensity as strength and balance activities. These Parkinsons exercises include aerobic activities that increase heart rate, respiration and burn calories. Medical professionals recommend a minimum of 2 hours and 30-minutes of moderate intensity endurance exercise. Moderate intensity is defined by the talk testone should be able to talk during moderate intensity exercise, but not sing.

Many of the following examples of endurance Parkinsons exercises are easily achieved at home.

Where And How Can I Do This


Think about working out at home at a time that suits you. This way you can spend as much or as little as you want on equipment, depending on your finances and the space you have. For some, this means building a home gym, but this isnt necessary weights , medicine balls, kettle bells and elastic resistance bands dont cost the earth and dont take up too much space. There are many online training programmes and DVDs that show you how to use this equipment.

Many gyms and leisure centres, and Parkinsons local groups, offer sessions suitable for people with health conditions. Some personal trainers may be able to supervise or suggest appropriate exercise if you want to follow your own programme.

If you dont have a lot of room or you dont want to spend money on equipment or gym memberships, you can improvise. Given that the main muscles affected in Parkinsons are the ones that keep you upright, you can use your body weight to strengthen your legs, and household objects, like a tin of beans, to strengthen your arms.

Not everyone finds it easy to exercise. For many, movement itself might be a challenge at times. But if the reason you should build your strength is important enough, you will find a way to do it, or someone to help.

Think about working out at home at a time that suits you. This way you can spend as much or as little as you want on equipment, depending on your finances and the space you have.

You May Like: Cleveland Clinic Parkinson’s Bicycle Study 2017

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.

Tips For Exercising Safely

Before starting an exercise program, consult with your neurologist and primary care doctor about any health concerns and ask for recommendations, the Parkinsons Foundation advises.

Ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist who knows about Parkinsons together, the two of you can identify any concerns and physical limitations you may have. Your exercise regimen should be targeted to address your symptoms and physical limitations.

You should stop any exercise or stretch that causes pain, and take steps to prevent falls while exercising, such as:

  • If indoors, remove area or throw rugs
  • Work out in well-lit areas
  • Dont use rolling chairs
  • Work out with friends or buddies, particularly when performing outdoor activities
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid overexertion

You May Like: Does Sam Waterston Have Parkinsons

Mst Pd And Neural Plasticity

After 4 wk of MST, the PD patients exhibited a V/M ratio level that was even higher than what is typically observed in healthy old individuals . Notably, this training-induced increase in efferent drive accounted for 26% of the increase in leg press 1RM and 46% of the increase in chest press 1RM . These results are in accordance with a recent study revealing that PD patients have the potential to improve efferent neural drive in response to strength training . Albeit, that study showed that improvements in V/M ratio were only evident if the training was performed while standing on an unstable device. Surprisingly, the Silva-Batista et al. study showed that the direct motor response during rest and during MVC improved following the unstable strength training in PD. This finding contrasts the current study and previous literature , documenting the Mmax and Msup to remain unaltered following strength training. Increases in efferent neural drive, as observed in the present study, may be attributed to both enhanced firing frequency and/or motor unit recruitment . In support of this notion, David et al. showed that high-intensity strength training improved voluntary muscle activation in PD patients. Collectively, the present data and previous observations demonstrate the effectiveness of strength training performed with high intensity to induce significant neural adaptations in PD patients.

Aquatic Exercisecan Improve Your Balance

Parkinson’s Disease Exercises: Whole Body Strength

According to the APDA, exercising in water is a safe and effective way to improve balance and strength in people with Parkinsons disease. In general, the organization says, buoyancy from simply standing in the pool can help support weaker muscles and improve a persons balance and posture.

Swimming, or even performing some strength and flexibility exercises in the water with the water providing resistance enhances muscle tone, balance, and mobility with minimal stress on the body. The APDA offers a brochure with suggested aquatic exercise routines and general tips.

You May Like: Judy Woodruff Health Problems

Are There Any Risks Of Exercising With Parkinsons Disease

Some symptoms, like Parkinsons tremors, may seem worse during exercise. But exercise generally improves tremors and other symptoms in the long run.

Reduce challenges by stretching before and after exercise. Use good form to prevent injury. And avoid slippery floors, poor lighting and tripping hazards. If you have pain, stop and rest.

Pushing yourself too hard during exercise can lead to injury. Start slowly and increase intensity and duration over time. Keep a log to track your exercise choices and how you feel. Eventually, youll learn what works best for you.

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.

Don’t Miss: Sam Waterston Parkinson’s

Brian Grant Foundation Exercise Videos

Cost: Free

Cost: Free for 9 videos $29/month or $290/year for online streaming

The nine free classes include boxing fundamentals, HIIT , chair fit, tai chi, core, yoga, stretching/mobility. The free classes are 13 to 30 minutes. Classes are led by a physical therapist with Parkinsons specific certifications.

Paid classes incorporate PWR! Moves, cognitive dual task training, balance training, intensity training, and flexibility. For subscribers, new 20-25 minute videos are released weekly.

Cost: Free

Dance exercise class videos on YouTube. Each is fewer than 10 minutes long. Nearly 30 videos as of October 28, 2020.

Rachelle was featured at the Davis Phinney Foundation Victory Summit Albany in October, 2020. Watch an interview with Rachelle here, and Rachelle’s 25 minute Dance Beyond Parkinson’s Summit presentation here.

Cost: Free

Six seated dance exercise class videos on YouTube. Each is about one hour long. All are with the same instructor.

Cost: Free for 16 videos $50 for 100+ videos

Sixteen archived exercise classes are available for free viewing. Classes are designed to increase coordination, balance, flexibility, and strength through music and movement from a broad range of dance styles. 100+ archived classes and additional benefits are available for a $50 membership.

Popular Articles
Related news