Exercise is medicine, so don’t miss a dose
Exercise has been proven to build a healthier heart, lungs and muscles, boost metabolism, prevent diabetes and reduce disability. Research shows that exercise can slow many aspects of the physical decline of Parkinson’s and new research also suggests that exercise may even be neuroprotective – that is, slowing the progression of Parkinson’s in the brain.
Be realistic – something is better than nothing
There is no perfect one-size-fits-all exercise for people with Parkinson’s. Don’t wait. Start by walking around the block. Find a physical therapist who specializes in neurological disorders that can design an exercise program that is right for you.
Consistency is critical and if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. Do something you like. Dance, yoga, tai chi, cycling and strength exercises have been shown to help with physical and cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s. Try exercising with a group. Research shows that people stick with exercise when there is encouragement and an expectation for you to show up.
Break a sweat
Movement only becomes exercise when it is done at an intensity that is high enough to be physically challenging. If you can carry a conversation with someone while exercising, you are not working hard enough. Research shows that it’s not the exercise, but the level of the intensity of the exercise, that may be the most beneficial.
Do three major types of exercise
Combine aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching for more significant improvements in daily function and quality of life. Do aerobic conditioning or cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes, three times per week; strength or resistance training for 30 minutes, three times per week and stretching or flexibility exercises daily.
Start today, don’t wait
The sooner after diagnosis you begin exercising, the greater your physical reserve and self-motivation are likely to be. Don’t wait for the disease to progress further or for problems to emerge. Start strong to stay stronger longer.
Find an exercise buddy
Exercise with people that have exercise goals and physical stamina similar to your own. Especially for people with young-onset Parkinson’s, exercising with peers may be more enjoyable, more motivating and more appropriate than finding a Parkinson’s-specific exercise group.
Stick with it
Stay motivated and see the positive effects you’ve worked so hard to achieve last longer.
Exercise for your body and mind
Exercise isn’t just good for your body. Other issues related to Parkinson’s – like depression, sleep and constipation can also be positively affected by exercise and activity.
Use exercise to take control of your Parkinson’s
Use exercise to create a better quality of life for yourself and manage your Parkinson’s. It is possible to live well with Parkinson’s today.