Been diagnosed with Parkinson’s? Get into a good exercise program. The sooner you start, the harder you work, the more you can achieve.
EXERCISE HELPS WITH PARKINSON’S
WHAT IS PARKINSON’S DISEASE (PD)
Parkinson’s is not a fatal disease. It is a progressive, slowly degenerative brain disorder that primarily affects the way you move, but can also impair cognitive functioning. There are four main symptoms: Tremor in your hands, arms, or legs; stiff muscles; slow movements; problems with balance or walking. Symptoms generally begin between the ages of 50 and 60, but can start earlier. At present there is no cure, though there are medications and other treatments that can slow down the disease’s progress.
EXERCISE PROGRAMS CAN DELAY PARKINSON’S SYMPTOMS
Because of the effectiveness of medications in early stages of PD, patients rarely hear about PD exercise programs when they are first diagnosed. Recent studies, however, have shown that these programs can be remarkably helpful. Not surprisingly, the earlier you start and the harder you work, the more improvement you’ll be likely to experience. Here are four of the programs currently in use.
Rock Steady Boxing
Provides intensive conditioning for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, balance, hand-eye coordination, and over-all strength.
Dance for PD®
Teaches movement while addressing balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation, and depression in a social environment that emphasizes dancing, rather than therapy.
Delay the Disease™
Designed to empower patients to take control of the disease with daily exercise. It helps patients in several ways: moving about with ease in a crowd; getting out of bed or a chair independently; improving handwriting; dressing independently; diminishing worries about the appearance of stiffness and slow steps; and regaining an overall sense of moving with normality. Most Delay-the-Disease classes are in Ohio, but a few may be found in other states, such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Developed specifically to address unique movement impairments for PD patients, the program is both intensive and complex, with many repetitions of core movements used in daily living. Treatment can be delivered by a physical or occupational therapist, and is administered in 16, one-to-one sessions over a single month in four, 60-minute sessions per week.
THE BEST PROGRAM FOR YOU
Finding the right exercise program for a Parkinson’s patient is more complicated than choosing one for a healthy person. Your medical specialist is the best person to get you started in the program that is most tailored to your special health issues and circumstances.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
• nytimes.com - Basis for article
• webmd.com - About Parkinson’s Disease
• rocksteadyboxing.org - Rock Steady Boxing
• blogs.smartmoney.com - Dance for PD
• delaythedisease.com - Ohio’s Delay-the-Disease program
• lsvtglobal.com - LSVT BIG