We know that exercise is good at helping relive symptoms of Parkinson’s, but many people ask what the best exercises are. We say, the best exercises for people with Parkinson’s are the ones your care team approve and that you enjoy, because you’re more likely to continue doing them. Research has shown that regular exercise benefits people with Parkinson’s disease reduces stiffness and improves mobility, posture, balance and gait.
Aerobic exercise increases oxygen delivery and neurotransmitters to keep your heart, lungs, and nervous system healthy. General exercise may also reduce depression. Learning-based memory exercises can also help keep your memory sharp, which is benefit everyone could use!
Here are some exercise options that seem to work particularly well for people with Parkinson’s disease:
• Dancing: This helps explore movement in ways that are enjoyable, social, stimulating and creative.
• Boxing: People are finding they gain hope and improve their quality of life when they use a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum.
• Fencing: This encourages not only a mental engagement but engages balance and agility options.
• Strength training: As people develop and maintain muscle mass, they tend to become more stable in their gait, and more confident in their abilities. Additionally, strengthening postural muscles may help to maintain a more upright posture.
• Balance training: This often goes hand-in-hand with strength training, and the combined effort produces very positive results.
Exercises challenging a change in tempo, activity, or direction (what is referred to as “random practice” exercise) benefits people with Parkinson’s disease. Exercises that require balance and preparatory adjustment of the body are also important along with rhythmic activities such as dancing, skipping and cycling can maintain the ability to perform reciprocal movements. Finally, exercises that promote attention and learning are beneficial. Some more options that provide this include:
• Walking outside or in a mall
• Yoga classes
• Tai Chi classes
• Stepping over obstacles
• Marching to music with big arm swings
• Sports (ping pong, golf, tennis, volleyball)
• Aerobic/Jazzercise classes
We don’t want to forget about cardiopulmonary fitness, either. Here are some exercises that help improve and maintain cardio fitness:
• Paced walking (treadmill walking at different speeds and different inclines)
• Hiking using walking sticks
• Swimming with different strokes
Hiring a certified Personal Trainer may be the best investment you make to achieve a fit, healthy, new you. Contact Jacey Gengenbach, one of the top three finalists for the 2015 trainer of the year award, at Fitness & Beyond in Omaha today. Call her at 402-502-2729 or visit the company’s website: www.fitnessandbeyondomaha.com. Follow Fitness & Beyond on Twitter, or find it on Facebook at Fitness & Beyond, LLC.