- To help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's, be sure your exercise program includes three key ingredients:
- Aerobic Activity
- Resistance (weight training)
- Biking, running, Tai Chi, yoga, pilates, dancing, weight training, Qi Gong—all have been shown to have positive effect on symptoms for people with Parkinson’s.
- Try to challenge yourself: in research studies, the best results that were sustained longest--for running on a treadmill, or biking on a stationary bike--were achieved through greater intensity (i.e. speed) for longer periods of time.
- Set realistic goals if you are uncertain about your limitations and abilities.
- Ask your physician to refer you to a physical therapist or exercise physiologist for evaluation and to develop an exercise program that fits your needs.
- Choose a time to exercise when your medicines are working well and you feel rested.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes that provide good support.
- Do NOT do or continue exercise that causes pain.
- All movement should be done in a controlled manner to prevent injury.
- Avoid bouncing when performing stretches.
- Learn to recognize when you are tired.
- Strike a balance between doing too much and too little.
- If you have overexerted yourself one day, take a break from your exercise routine the following day so you can heal and restore your energy.
- Remember that it takes time to see and feel the benefits of an exercise program.
- You will find the most benefit if you exercise on a regular basis.
- Another way to start exercise is to participate in music therapy.
- If you like to exercise and have fun at the same time, the Nintendo Wii might be the thing for you. With a variety of games and activities, the Wii can help you improve movement, gait and balance issues associated with PD.
The National Parkinson Foundation invites you to get moving! Join us for Moving Day, a day that will move you and others to speak up about Parkinson’s disease. It’s more than just a fundraising walk. It’s a day to change the state of awareness about a disease that affects so many of our family and friends.
“Delay the Disease” is a fitness program designed to empower people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) by optimizing their physical function and helping to delay the progression of symptoms. The program is available as a book and DVD. It is also the foundation for exercise classes geared specifically to counteract the movement challenges experienced by people with Parkinson’s. For more helpful exercise tips, visit www.delaythedisease.com.
More information about exercise for Parkinson's patients can also be found here: Tai Chi & Qi Gong for Health and Well-Being
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Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.