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Working Out With Parkinson’s

Where Can I Find Support If I Have Parkinson’s Disease And Want To Exercise

Work It Out: Managing Parkinsons in the Workplace

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.


Increased Feelings Of Anxiety Or Depression

Anxiety and depression have been linked to Parkinsons. In addition to movement problems, the disease can also have an impact on your mental health. Its possible that changes in your emotional well-being can be a sign of changing physical health as well.

If you are more anxious than usual, have lost interest in things, or feel a sense of hopelessness, talk to your doctor.

Exercise Prescription Based On Evidence For Parkinsons Disease

It is possible to assume that patients with Parkinson’s disease should benefit in the majority of cases with different strategies, which should be prescribed based on a careful clinical evaluation, functional capacity, mental health and cardiorespiratory function. With these data in hand, the physical education or physiotherapy professional will be able to choose the type of training, duration, intensity and other variables to be worked out in order to promote the benefits of exercise to the patients.

The American College of Sports Medicine has published recommendations for the prescription of exercises for parkinsonians . These recommendations are a good guide on what exercises to prescribe for this population and how to do it. One of the key information in this guide is that exercise recommendations for adult health fitness can be applied to parkinsonians, with caveats to the condition and physical limitations that the person presents. Adults with Parkinson’s disease may present improvements similar to those of healthy adults in the variables of physical fitness , with direct impact on improving functional capacity .

Also Check: Symptoms Of Parkinsons In Women

Keep On Moving Exercises To Do At Home

Publisher: Keep It On

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.

Employment With Parkinsons Disease: Working It Out

6 Rules for Exercising with Parkinsons Disease

For many people, one of the first questions after a Parkinsons disease diagnosis is, How long will I be able to work? This question is especially important to people with young-onset PD, who may be far from retirement. A Parkinsons diagnosis does not mean your career is over.

As with most aspects of Parkinsons, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Factors in the decisionmaking process include the nature and physical demands of a job, the acceptance and support offered by employers and coworkers, response to medication, financial issues and the rate of disease progression. Some people continue to work for many years after a Parkinsons diagnosis, while others may find that the physical and mental stresses of their job become too challenging, too quickly.

To tell or not to tell?

Many newly diagnosed people with Parkinsons avoid telling their employers and coworkers about their condition because they fear they will be unfairly treated. But the Americans with Disabilities Act was created, in part, to keep employers from discriminating against people with disabilities or certain health conditions when they are hired, on the job or being fired. Every work setting is different. It is important that you feel comfortable with your choice.

Workplace Accommodations

TIPS Job Comfort and Safety

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How Does Exercise Change The Brain

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:

  • Exercising did not affect the amount of dopamine in the brain, but the mice that exercised the brain cells were using dopamine more efficiently.
  • Exercise improves efficiency by modifying the areas of the brain where dopamine signals are received the substantia nigra and basal ganglia.

Scientists at University of Pittsburgh found that in animal models, exercise induces and increases the beneficial neurotrophic factors, particularly GDNF , which reduces the vulnerability of dopamine neurons to damage.

At the molecular level, at least two things happen to make dopamine use more efficient:

  • Dopamine travels across a space between two adjacent brain cells called a synapse. This process is called signaling and it is essential for normal functioning. To end the signal, a protein complex called the dopamine transporter normally retrieves dopamine from the synapse. The first thing Fisher et al. found is that animals that had exercised possessed less of the dopamine transporter, meaning that dopamine stayed in their synapses longer and their dopamine signals lasted longer.
  • Do I Have To Tell Potential Employers That I Have Parkinson’s

    If you’re looking for a job you may be wondering about whether you need to tell a possible employer about your condition.

    In Great Britain

    It is against the law for a potential employer to ask you about your health or any disability before offering you a job, except in very limited circumstances.

    You should only be asked questions about your health for certain purposes, such as in the examples below.

    • If a potential employer is trying to find out whether you need any changes or reasonable adjustments to be made to the recruitment process.
    • For monitoring purposes. Potential employers can ask you to complete a form giving your race, gender, sexuality, religion, age and if you have a disability. Filling in these forms is usually optional and they are processed separately from your application.
    • If a potential employer is trying to find out if you have a disability or health condition that would affect your ability to carry out an essential part of the job. For example, if you were applying for a job as a scaffolder your employer could reasonably ask you if you have any condition that would affect your ability to climb scaffolding and work at heights.
    • If they require an employee to have a particular disability or condition as part of the role they are recruiting for.

    In Northern Ireland

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    Neuroprotective Benefits Of Exercise

    Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone, however, for people with Parkinsons disease exercise is not only healthy, but a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities, along with a potential neuroprotective effect. The Parkinsons Foundation Quality Improvement Initative studied exercise as part a Parkinson’s Outcomes Project study.

    Every Center of Excellence agrees that they believe exercise is important to good outcomes in PD, and data supports that. Exercising enhances the sense of wellbeing, even across different disease stages and severities. There is a growing consensus among researchers about the short and long-term benefits of exercise for people with PD.

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    Being a working mum with Parkinsons

    Parkinsons symptoms include tremor, rigid muscles and problems with movement. While early treatment can delay the worst symptoms, people almost always get worse. About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year and about a million Americans have Parkinsons now.

    No medical therapy can cure Parkinsons and while exercise was always shown to help people feel better, it was not generally accepted as a true therapy until recently.

    Now teams are trying to find out how much exercise helps and just which symptoms it affects. Doctors say theyd be thrilled just to slow the inevitable worsening of the disease and if they can freeze progression or reverse symptoms, that would be a home run.

    Corcos and colleagues say the most intense exercise appears to have at least temporarily frozen symptoms in many of their volunteers.

    “The earlier in the disease you intervene, the more likely it is you can prevent the progression of the disease,” Corcos said in a statement.

    “We delayed worsening of symptoms for six months, he added. Whether we can prevent progression any longer than six months will require further study.”

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    They worked with 128 patients with early stage Parkinsons. They randomly assigned them to either moderate exercise four days a week, intense exercise four days a week, or no additional exercise.

    “This is not mild stretching. This is high intensity, Corcos said.

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    Aquatic Exercisecan Improve Your Balance

    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.

    Does Exercise Slow Disease Progression

    Pre-clinical work demonstrates that exercise has protective effects on brain cells. It boosts trophic factors, which are like fertilizer for brain cells and increases the number and activity of mitochondria, the cells energy sources. It also helps you use the dopamine your brain already has, more efficiently. Clinical studies also suggest that symptoms may progress more slowly in people who exercise.

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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

    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.

    How Can It Help In Parkinson’s

    Working out, finding supportExercise program leads to ...

    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
    • reducing slowness of movement
    • reducing freezingand gait problems
    • 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.


  • Nordic walking improves mobility in Parkinson’s disease – van Eijkeren FJ, Reijmers RS, Kleinveld MJ, Minten A, Bruggen JP, Bloem BR. Mov Disord. 2008 Nov 15 23:2239-43 – view abstract.
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    Balance Exercisescan Improve Your Mobility

    Balance is an important aspect of mobility, and people with Parkinsons commonly experience balance problems when standing or moving around, the APDA notes. Dance and tai chi are two activities that can help you improve balance, and the APDA recommends performing balance-related activities two to three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes each time.

    Balance training can help you prevent falls, Subramanian notes.

    What You Can Expect

    Parkinson does follow a broad pattern. While it moves at different paces for different people, changes tend to come on slowly. Symptoms usually get worse over time, and new ones probably will pop up along the way.

    Parkinsonâs doesnât always affect how long you live. But it can change your quality of life in a major way. After about 10 years, most people will have at least one major issue, like dementia or a physical disability.

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    What Is Positive Discrimination

    Positive discrimination is when one person is treated more favourably than another because of a ‘protected characteristic’. Protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex or sexual orientation.

    Generally, positive discrimination is unlawful except in the case of disability. Both the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act allow employers to actively seek people with a disability for a role and treat them more favourably than a non-disabled person in certain circumstances.

    The most common form of positive discrimination is when a job advert says that the employer wants someone with a particular type of disability. This is usually because the role is working with people with that disability and their personal experience is necessary. For example, the Royal National Institute for the Blind might want to employ someone who has a visual impairment for a specific role.

    You will also need to find out more about your legal rights. Your trade union, the Equality and Human Rights Commission , Citizens Advice or the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland should be able to advise you.

    How Can I Benefit From Exercise

    Keeping brain cells working in Parkinson’s

    Symptom Management

    Research has shown that exercise can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination. Exercise such as treadmill training and biking have all been shown to benefit, along with Tai Chi and yoga. So far, studies have shown:

    • Engaging in any level of physical activity is beneficial, rather than being sedentary this is associated with improved motor symptoms.
    • For people with mild to moderate PD, targeted exercises can address specific symptoms for example: aerobic exercise improves fitness, walking exercises assist in gait, resistance training strengthens muscles. One study showed that twice-a-week tango dancing classes helped people with PD improve motor symptoms, balance and walking speed.
    • Exercise may also improve cognition, depression and fatigue, but the research is still ongoing in these areas.

    One study showed that people with PD who exercised regularly for 2.5 hours a week had a smaller decline in mobility and quality of life over two years. Research is ongoing to discover therapies that will change the course of the disease.

    Neurologists within the Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence network recommend a regimented exercise program to their patients and also to people who are worried about getting PD due to family connection.

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    Tips For Getting Started

    • First, be safe. Before starting an exercise program, consult your neurologist and primary care doctor about concerns and recommendations.
    • Ask your doctor or members in your support group to refer to a physical therapist who knows about PD. Work together to identify your concerns and limitations. Target exercises to improve them. For most people, a structured exercise program will include aerobic exercise and resistance training .
    • Purchase a pedometer and figure out how many steps you take on average each day, then build up from there. Many smartphones or smartwatches have a built-in pedometer feature or an application that can be downloaded.
    • Exercise indoors and outdoors. Change your routine to stay interested and motivated.
    • Again, most importantly pick an exercise you enjoy.

    Seek out local PD exercise classes. Across the country, dance classes and boxing groups designed specifically for people with PD are growing in popularity. Contact the Parkinsons Foundations toll-free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO or to find one near you.

    Page reviewed by Dr. Bhavana Patel, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.

    Trouble Moving Or Walking

    Do you feel stiff in your body, arms or legs? Have others noticed that your arms dont swing like they used to when you walk? Sometimes stiffness goes away as you move. If it does not, it can be a sign of Parkinson’s disease. An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem stuck to the floor.

    What is normal?If you have injured your arm or shoulder, you may not be able to use it as well until it is healed, or another illness like arthritis might cause the same symptom.

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    How Exercise Helps With Parkinsons Symptom Management

    In general, the Parkinsons Foundation says, exercise helps improve gait, balance, flexibility, and grip strength while reducing tremors. A review of existing research published in the August 2016 edition of the journal Frontiers in Medicine found that exercise may also improve cognition, while reducing depression and fatigue.

    What Makes Pd Hard To Predict

    3 18 2020 Parkinsons Exercise

    Parkinsonâs comes with two main buckets of possible symptoms. One affects your ability to move and leads to motor issues like tremors and rigid muscles. The other bucket has non-motor symptoms, like pain, loss of smell, and dementia.

    You may not get all the symptoms. And you canât predict how bad theyâll be, or how fast theyâll get worse. One person may have slight tremors but severe dementia. Another might have major tremors but no issues with thinking or memory. And someone else may have severe symptoms all around.

    On top of that, the drugs that treat Parkinsonâs work better for some people than others. All that adds up to a disease thatâs very hard to predict.

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