»   What Type of Exercise Should I Do?

  »   Challenges to Exercising

  »   Tips for Getting Started

Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson's Disease (PD), exercise is more than healthy; it is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility anf activities of daily living. Exercise and Physical Activity can improve many Parkinson's Disase symptoms. These benefits are supported by research.

One research project, The Parkinson's Outcomes Project, shows that people with Parkinson's Disease who start exercising earlier and a minimum of 2.5 hours a week, experience a slowed decline in quality of life compared to those who start later. Establishing early exercise habits is essential to overall disease management.

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What Type of Exercise Should I Do?

To help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, be sure your exercise program includes a few key ingredients:
  »   Flexibility (stretching) exercises
  »   Aerobic Activity
  »   Resistance Training or Strengthening Exercises

These elements are included in many types of exercise. Biking, Running, Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Dance, Weight Training, Non-Contact Boxing and more. All have positive effects on Parkinson's Disease symptoms.

There is no "exercise prescription" that is right for every person with Parkinson's Disease. The type of exercise you do depends on your symptoms and challenges. For sedentary people, just getting up and moving is beneficial. More active people can build up to regular, vigorous activity. Many approaches work well to help maintain and improve mobility, flexibility and balance to ease non-motor Parkinson's Disease symptoms such as depression or constipation.

Research has stated that their studies did not distinguish between what type of exercise participants did and determined that all types of exercise are beneficial. The most important thing is to do the exercise regularly. We suggest you find an exercise that you enjoy and stick with it.

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Conditions that Mimic Parkinson's Disease

  »   People in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease tend to be just as strong and physically fit as healthy individuals of the same age.
  »   Disease progression can lead to the following physical change:
    -  Loss of join flexibility, which can affect balance
    -  Decreased muscle strength or deconditioning which can affect walking and the ability to stand up from sitting
    -  Decline in cardiovascular conditioning, which affects endurance.

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Tips for Getting Started

  »   First, be safe. Before starting an exercise program, consult your neurologist and primary care doctor about concerns and recommendations.
  »   Ask your doctor or members in your support group to refer to a physical therapist (PT) who knew about Parkinson's Disease. Work together to identify your concerns and limitations. Target exercises to improve them. For most people, a structured exercise program will include aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) and resistance training (using weights or bands).
  »   Purchase a pedometer (step counter) and figure out how many steps you take on average each day, then build up from there. Many smartphones or smartwatches have a built-in pedometer feature or an application that can be downloaded.
  »   Exercise indoors and outdoors. Change your routine to stay interested and motivated.
  »   Most importantly, pick an exercise you enjoy.

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