Here’s a look at the benefits of regular exercise if you have Parkinson’s Disease.
Exercise is a key component for a healthy lifestyle, and it’s important for people of all ages – even those who are aging.
While exercise helps to keep you fit, healthy and active, it also supports brain health.
Exercise can offer both short and long-term benefits for many people with Parkinson’s Disease.
Exercise helps to manage Parkinson’s Disease symptoms
Research into the physical benefits of exercise for people living with Parkinson’s Disease has demonstrated clear benefits. For example, one study suggested that people with Parkinson’s Disease who exercised regularly for 2.5 hours a week had a smaller decline in mobility over a two-year period.
Research has also suggested that exercise can improve specific motor (physical) symptoms in people who have Parkinson’s disease such as:
- grip strength
- motor coordination
Exercise may also help to prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s Disease which can also help to avoid complications and prevent further injury.
Different types of exercises can benefit people with Parkinson’s Disease at different stages.
Exercise can help promote a balanced mood
As well as improving physical symptoms, exercise helps to support improved cognition and fatigue.
Exercise can also help to promote a good mood, making you feel happier and more positive in general.
Exercise strategies for people living with Parkinson’s Disease
A good exercise program should include a combination of flexibility (stretching) exercises, aerobic activity and resistance training or strengthening exercises.
Before you start an exercise program, though, speak to your doctor about the most suitable exercises. You may need a tailored plan or more specific advice about exercise and there may be other considerations relating to your general health or fitness.
Aim to find an exercise you can commit to regularly – one that you enjoy and can build on. Working out with a partner or friend can help to motivate you and make exercise more enjoyable.
Some exercises which may be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s Disease include:
- Treadmill training
- Bike riding
- Tai Chi
- Weight training
- Stretching and movement
Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists are health professionals that can develop a tailored, individualised exercise program.
Organisations that can help
The following organisations provide exercise therapy for Parkinson’s Disease:
- PD Warrior pdwarrior.com
- Punching Parkos punchinparkos.org
- Dance for PD danceforparkinsonsaustralia.org
Some Sydney hospital-based exercise programs include:
- Hunters Hill Private Hospital’s Parkinson’s Reconditioning Program (http://www.huntershillprivate.com.au/Rehabilitation/Parkinsons-Reconditioning-Program)
- Parkinson’s Therapy at Mt Wilga Private Rehabilitation Hospital (http://www.mtwilgaprivate.com.au/~/media/Documents/MWP/Resources/MWPH-Parkinsons-Program.ashx?la=en)
Integrated Neurology www.integratedneurology.com.au
Sydney North Neurosurgery www.snns.com.au
Parkinson’s Foundation: Exercise
Parkinson’s Foundation: Neuroprotective benefits of exercise
The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and is not treatment advice. Recommendations regarding therapy can only be made on a case by case basis, discussed between a patient and their treating doctor(s).
The information in this article was current at 20 June 2018.