For four years, my neurologist told me my tremors were nothing. One day, I was getting a haircut. My hairdresser asked me if I had ever been evaluated for Parkinson’s disease (PD), because my walk reminded her of her Dad who had PD. That shook me up!
I asked my neurologist to reassess me. He said he thought my hairdresser was right. I switched doctors and my wonderful new neurologist confirmed that my tremors, coordination, slowness and rigidity challenges were indeed Parkinson’s.
My usual upbeat mood became dark. For a while I isolated as fear of an unknown future gripped me. I called the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline, and asked many questions, read everything I could get my hands on.
I learned of the Rock Steady boxing program for PD. I never imagined, at 71, that I would be learning how to box! I also started water aerobics. I’d always been a walker, as my husband and I have three rescue golden doodles who need as much exercise as we do!
I looked at boxing and water aerobics as chores I had to undertake for PD. However, what surprises me is that I have come to truly enjoy both activities! I also enjoy the socialization aspect of both, and not feeling alone. Over the last few months my boxing improved so much that I’ve added a regular class!
Last week I saw my new neurologist. She told me that I have improved remarkably! My tremors are less frequent, less intense. My rigidly is gone. My coordination is better. I attribute this improvement to not only carbadopa levadopa, which I only recently started, but to boxing, water aerobics and walking.
PD professionals who encourage vigorous exercise are right! The Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline specialists and my doctor stress exercise all the time!
I’ve come to know how critical it is to incorporate other resources as well. A loving, compassionate support system is vital. Socializing is paramount. Having fun with friends and family is medicine! A “most of the time” healthy diet matters! Meditation, rest and yoga are helpful as well!
My advice is to find what works best for you! My mantra is the 3 P’s…Positivity, Peace, Proactivity. Living a full life is possible. Don’t give up. Help is out there.
Find the Parkinson’s exercise class that works for you! For virtual options, explore our Fitness Friday videos and events. For in-person classes, visit your local chapter’s webpage or call our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).