Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for everyone. Physical activity is even more critical for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Research has shown that consistent exercise can help to slow disease progression and minimize disability. Physical activity appears to have a protective effect on motor (shuffling walking pattern, decreased balance, and difficulty initiating movements) and non-motor symptoms (constipation, sleep disturbance, decline in memory, and fatigue).
The disease process involves abnormal protein breakdown in a specific part of the brain which eventually alters body movements such that they are slower, smaller, and uncoordinated. Physical exercise directly targets the problematic brain pathways which in turn improves the quality and efficiency of movements.
Importance of Staying Active
Exercise training reduces fall rates for individuals with PD by 60%1.
Slower decline in quality of life. Targeted physical activity can address many common motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
- Strength training can help improve balance, increase walking speed and efficiency with mobility tasks.
- Flexibility training is beneficial for addressing or minimizing changes related to rigidity. Prolonged rigidity can lead to decreased range of motion of multiple joints and postural deformities.
Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, reduces fatigue, and can minimize non-motor symptoms that negatively impact an individual’s quality of life.
How Can You Stay Active?
Community-based wellness programs for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease are uncommon but should be considered for early intervention and long-term maintenance. Being involved in the community helps to increase socialization, lower stress, and improve overall quality of life. There are many exercises classes available throughout the Baton Rouge community. Popular options include:
- RockSteady Boxing
- Dance for Parkinson’s Baton Rouge
- Spin classes
- Seated exercise classes designed for seniors
- LSVT Big wellness
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and interested in learning more about how you can stay active give us a call! One of our skilled therapists can assist you by determining your individual needs and develop a specialized treatment plan to promote an active lifestyle.
- Shen X. Effects of exercise on falls, balance, and gait ability in Parkinson’s disease: A meta-analysis. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2016;30(6):512-527