If you have Parkinson’s disease, it’s time to lace up your tennis shoes and start working out! Research shows that individuals with Parkinson’s disease who exercise twice a week have fewer symptoms. Plus, exercise benefits your overall health. This can help reduce the severity of symptoms and the disability related to advanced Parkinson’s disease.
The benefit isn’t just for people who already have Parkinson’s disease. People who get regular exercise are less likely to be diagnosed with the disease. And if you do develop the condition, you’ll likely progress more slowly than people who don’t have an exercise routine. Exercise may also help prevent a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis if you have a hereditary connection to the condition.
What’s the Best Exercise for People with Parkinson’s Disease?
The simple answer is any exercise that gets you moving and keeps you interested. If you’re willing to stick with a routine, almost any type of exercise can be beneficial. And if you’re looking to mix it up, try some of the following exercises. They’ve been shown to be especially effective for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Aerobic activities include:
- non-contact boxing
- water aerobics
Other activities include:
How Do I Get Started?
Before you begin any exercise program, talk with your neurologist or general practitioner. If you haven’t been physically active before your diagnosis, you may need additional help planning an exercise program. Your doctor will consider your personal health history, your current symptoms and treatment plan, and any additional factors that may affect your ability to exercise.
Your doctor may also ask you to make an appointment with a physical therapist or certified personal trainer who has experience with patients who have Parkinson’s disease. You may need to modify exercises so you can perform them, especially if Parkinson’s disease is limiting your movement.
As both your physical fitness and Parkinson’s disease progress, your physical therapist can help monitor your improvement. They may suggest changes to your exercise routine to make it more effective for you.
Is There Anything Else I Should Keep in Mind?
Adjusting to a new exercise routine will take some time. Keep these three things in mind:
- Don’t be upset if you cannot perform as well as you think at first. Exercise requires stamina. If you haven’t had a regular exercise routine in some time, you may not be able to endure lengthy training periods. Start with shorter periods of exercise and build up from there.
- Be honest with your doctor and physical therapist. If a certain movement or particular type of exercise feels unnatural, too difficult, or hurts too much, tell them you need a revised plan. You might inadvertently increase your symptoms if you’re not honest.
- Make sure you’re in a safe environment. Exercising at home may be convenient, but it may not be safe. You could trip over slippery surfaces, carpets, or rugs. If you hurt yourself during your exercise, you won’t be able to get help immediately if you’re home alone.