Exercise & Parkinsons Research
Exercise is good for the heart and the muscles, but exercise can actually change the brain. Establishing early exercise habits is an essential part of overall disease management, which is why neurologists now recommend exercise as part of most PD treatment plans.
People with Parkinsons who engaged in at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week had a better quality of life than those who didn’t exercise at all or started exercising later.
Apda In Your Community
In last weeks blog, we addressed the reasons why it is vital for people with Parkinsons disease to exercise, including improving particular motor and non-motor symptoms such as impaired balance, gait disorders, depression, and cognition.
Today, we will tackle another important question what types of exercise are most beneficial to help people with Parkinsons disease improve their quality of life? Well also address several specific types of exercise designed for people with PD and some tips on how to get started with an exercise program.
Also Check: Caring For Someone With Parkinsons
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.
Don’t Miss: Pharmacological Treatment Of Parkinson’s Disease
Exercise 3 Quadruped Hip Extension
STARTING POSITION: On hands and knees.
Repeat 15-20 times.Perform two rounds per leg.
Emotional And Physical Impact
Disease duration in those diagnosed with PD can span decades. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, there is considerable emotional, social, and physical impact. These impacts include compromised functional status and quality of life, social isolation due to the presence and severity of motor and nonmotor symptoms, and increased burden on care partners.
Recommended Reading: Speech Therapy Parkinson’s Disease
How Can It Help In Parkinsons
Nordic walking can improve fitness in the same way that running does, but it is much kinder to the ankles, knees and hips as it has a much lower impact on the joints. This can be particularly attractive if you experience joint pain.
Perhaps the most important advantage of Nordic walking if you have Parkinsons is that is allows you to maintain and develop your ability to walk well by:
- enhancing balance and coordination
- improving mobility and creating more fluid movements
- correcting posture, particularly the stooped position associated with Parkinsons
- reinforcing the alternating movements of the arms and legs which can be lost in Parkinsons and so improving stability
- boosting independence and quality of life.
Various studies 1,2 have shown that people with Parkinsons who participate in Nordic walking programmes have improved functional independence and quality of life. It seems that mood also improves.
Once the basic steps have been learnt you can tailor your programme to suit how you feel at any particular time. Walking in a group also has social and psychological benefits.
Carers and family members who walk with you may find that they too feel fitter and have fewer aches and pains.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a neurological disorder that causes problems with movement. These can include shaking, stiffness, and issues with walking, balance, and coordination.
Parkinsons disease can also lead to speech problems and side effects including depression, pain, and difficulty sleeping.
Parkinsons disease affects the cells of the area of the midbrain known as the substantia nigra. This part of the brain produces dopamine and relates to reward and movement. Parkinsons causes cells in the substantia nigra to die, which reduces dopamine levels and causes the onset of symptoms.
You May Like: Brain Surgery For Parkinson’s Disease
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
- Avoid overexertion
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.
Recommended Reading: Cost Of Drugs For Parkinson’s Disease
Guidance From An Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Its important to contact a health professional before commencing exercise to ensure your safety. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can assess and tailor an exercise program specific to your individual needs. They will supervise your exercises and ensure you start at a light intensity, gradually increasing your prescription based on your progress. Sometimes individuals with Parkinsons may need to be cautious during hot temperatures, around trip hazards and if they are fatigued or unwell. Your Accredited Exercise Physiologist will adapt your program and always be there to guide you.
to find an exercise physiologist near you.
Flexibility / Stretching Exercises
1. Body TwistSit on the edge of a seat. Sit tall. Turn your shoulders to the right. Place your right hand behind you. Twist your body and head to the right as far as you can go without any pain, only a stretched feeling. Hold. Try to relax and breathe.
2. Wall HangFace a wall and stand with your feet about 30cm from the wall. Lift your hands straight above your head and place palms on wall, as high as possible. Lean forward without arching your back. The stretch should be felt under the arms and in your chest. If this is too easy, take the feet further back from the wall.
If you can reach, rest your hands on the frame at the top of the door. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold. Do not over-stretch.
3. Doorway Bend
Stand near a doorway. Lift your arm to the side, up to shoulder height. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and place the entire forearm on the door frame. Gently turn your body away from the arm and feel a stretch in the shoulder and chest. Hold. Repeat on the other arm.
4. Side Bend
Sit tall in a chair that doesnt have arms.Lift one arm over your head and curve your body to the side.Keep your buttock firmly on the seat so you dont tip the body.A stretch should be felt on the side of the body. Hold. Repeat for the other side. Do not lean forward or backwards.
Recommended Reading: Best Edibles For Parkinson’s
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.
What Does A Parkinsons
Its important to practice Parkinsons specific exercises rather than general exercise training to improve movement because of the type of brain stimulation each type of exercise produces.
Your brain has the ability to help you move better. It learns from all stimulation applied to it, including exercise, and has an enormous capacity to re-wire the neural connections for improved movement. You may not have noticed, but, getting off a low chair, rolling in bed and picking up a cup of water all require infinite amounts of fine-tuning as your brain prepares, conducts and evaluates the task. Your brain is receiving constant feedback about the environment so that it can move with the appropriate amount of speed, power and accuracy to be effective and efficient.
Dopamine deficiency can lead to the continuing reduction of movement, speed and power. Instead of getting up from the chair first time round, it may mean that you have to use your arms to push up, or rock back and forth a bit to get enough momentum to stand up. It is the chronic reduction in a movement that makes big movements like walking and small movements like writing so challenging.
Parkinsons specific exercise will teach you how to move with amplitude, power and speed in everyday tasks so that you can get back to doing the things you enjoy doing. By increasing your overall activity level, Parkinsons specific exercise may also slow down the symptom progression of your Parkinsons.
Recommended Reading: Does Parkinson’s Get Worse
The Benefits Of Yogafor Parkinsons Disease
According to the Parkinsons Foundation, yoga can help with flexibility, breathing, and posture as well as relaxation and stress reduction. Best of all, its a self-paced activity, the foundation adds, which means you dont have to perform certain exercises if your physical limitations get in the way. Bonus: Your routine can be modified depending on your needs for example, doing seated yoga in a chair.
Yoga is really my go-to, Subramanian says. Mind-body exercises are really beneficial for mental health, which is important given the risk for anxiety and depression in Parkinsons disease.
Static Standing Balance Exercises For Parkinsons
You can start by doing a static standing balance exercise. To start, stand with both feet flat on the floor, with your head and belly button level. Lift your left leg off the floor and hold it there for 30 seconds. Then slowly place it back on the ground and repeat with the opposite leg. You can also add other objects to the exercise, such as a chair or table. Try starting out with 5 repetitions on each side and gradually increasing the number of repetitions.
Recommended Reading: Mesenchymal Stem Cells Parkinson Disease
Looking For More Exercises For Parkinsons
To take your core strengthening program to the next level, book an evaluation with a Parkinsons physical therapist who can help identify your specific needs and tailor a core strengthening program unique to you. You can also download the Davis Phinney Foundations Exercise Essentials or check out Invigorates online Parkinsons exercise program,
|DISCLAIMER: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your physical therapist and healthcare team to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.|
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
Top Three Exercises For Parkinsons Patients
Posted By C-Care
Parkinsons disease is a common neurodegenerative condition, which mainly affects the motor system and can make simple physical tasks difficult over time. Since Parkinsons is degenerative, symptoms advance and change over time. Symptoms of Parkinsons include:
- Mood alterations
Parkinsons is a challenging disease both for those who suffer from it, and for their family members. When diagnosed early, there are many things you can do to minimize symptoms, including exercises, some of which well list here.
Walking is also an all-around healthy way to get exercise, and should always be part of your daily routine.
Seated Hamstring Stretch: Sitting at the edge of a chair, extend one leg straight, keeping the heel on the floor, while your other legs stays bent. Placing your hands on your bent knee for support, lean forward until you feel the stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 5-10 deep breaths.
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 exercisesthat do this:
- Walking outside or in a mall
Types of exercises that promote cardiopulmonary fitness:
- 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?
Recommended Reading: University Of Florida Parkinson’s Center
When Should Parkinson’s People Stretch
The best thing about stretching is that you can do it at any time. Get your day off to a good start by stretching before getting out of bed. Try to stretch throughout the day. For example, you can stretch while you watch television or ride in a car.
Choose a time for exercise when you are well-rested and your PD medications are working.
The Following Types Of Pool Exercises Are Recommended:
- Dynamic movements while standing
- Static stretches in the water. These are recommended to be done three times a week for 30 minutes at a time, with breaks between each stretch lasting about two minutes. This is important due to muscle fatigue that can take place when exercising in this manner. It also may be a good idea to stretch muscles with the help of another person.
- Exercises performed while sitting on a chair or wheelchair. These include: leg lifts, hip abduction, and adduction exercises, trunk rotation stretches, and upper limb strengthening. It is recommended that these be done three times per week for about 30 minutes.
- Exercises performed while lying down on a bench. This includes leg raises, lifts, and press exercises done with the arms or legs, hip flexion/extension movements, trunk rotation stretches, and shoulder abduction to adduction work. These pool exercises for Parkinsons should be done two times per week for 30 minutes each.
- Swimming or walking in a standard pool that is about 50 meters long should be done three times per week for 30 minutes at a time, with the ability to walk slowly without the support and swim continuously for one minute. This will help to improve endurance such as aerobic capacity by increasing oxygen consumption while decreasing heart rate.
Read Also: Involuntary Humming Parkinson’s Disease
Exercise 3 Knee Drops
STARTING POSITION: Lying flat on your back on the mat.
Repeat 10-15 times per side.Perform two rounds.