2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month (Part 2)- Exercise

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.“ William James

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun

Part 2 of Parkinson’s Awareness Month is Dedicated to Exercise:
Introduction to Parkinson’s:
What is Parkinson’s Disease? Parkinson’s usually presents as a motor system disorder that results from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Parkinson’s has 4 main symptoms: rigidity (stiffness of the limbs and trunk); bradykinesia (slowness of movement); postural instability (impaired balance and coordination); and tremor (trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face).  Other symptoms may include: depression; difficulty in swallowing and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; and sleep disruptions.  Parkinson’s usually affects people over the age of 60.  There are more than 1 million people in the USA living with Parkinson’s.  The symptoms of Parkinson’s occur gradually over several years, which sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose.

How do you characterize the usual rate of progression? Parkinson’s is not like sticking your hand into a hornet’s nest and the resultant instantaneous stings; it’s more like being covered in beach sand at low tide while you patiently wait for the slowly approaching ocean’s high tide. Thus, the typical progression of Parkinson’s is measured in years.

How do you feel living with Parkinson’s? Living with Parkinson’s is like trying to drive your car with minimal visibility from a sudden and intense thunderstorm or trying to walk wearing shoes with a pebble in one of your socks (and over time the gravel grows into a rock). Both of these examples are manageable, yet they are both uncomfortable and each present obstacles to overcome.

A Video From the Khan Academy Describing Parkinson’s (click here) An eight min video giving the details into the science, medicine and pharmacology of the disorder named Parkinson’s.

“You’ve survived 100 percent of everything in your life so far, so there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll survive whatever is next.” Timber Hawkey

Exercise and Parkinson’s: Exercise is activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness.  Exercise can benefit most people, but it is especially crucial to anyone with Parkinson’s. Most, if not all, forms of exercise are very beneficial to those of us with Parkinson’s. Pick an exercise or different types of exercise, find something you enjoy. The goal of exercise is to boost our health, relieve our stiffness, increase flexibility and balance, and provide us with improved quality-of-life. Ultimately, I hope exercise allows you to negotiate life on your own terms with Parkinson’s becoming only a nuisance and a bystander.

Exercise is Medicine, click here: This is such good news! Almost weekly it seems that another study on the role of exercise and Parkinson’s progression and/or quality-of- life is published. Here is an example (to read the blog post on this interesting paper, click here): The publication is open-access and is cited as follows: Ehlen F, Schindlbeck K, Nobis L, Maier A, Klostermann F. Relationships between activity and well-being in people with Parkinson’s disease. Brain Behav. 2018; 8:e 0 0976. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.976. The key result from this study was that frequent physical activity/exercise resulted in an immediate improvement in the subjective condition of PwP.

In 2018, for Parkinson’s Awareness Month, I posted this blog concerning the animal and human studies supporting the positive role of exercise to alter the progression of Parkinson’s: Parkinson’s Awareness Month: The Science Behind How Exercise Slows Disease Progression, click here.

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” Carol Welch

Parkinson’s Awareness is Every Day
Most likely, your Parkinson’s reminds you daily of its presence. It does to me. However, a month is important for Parkinson’s awareness. We can use the month for sharing advice and life-stories, which could help us live healthier lives in the presence of our disorder.

The theme that I am embracing for the 2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month has been to combine exercises with motivational quotes in the following five videos (each ~60 sec long). There are many different types of Parkinson’s-specific exercise programs, including:PWR!Moves (click here to learn more); Rock Steady Boxing (click here to learn more); LSVT BIG (click here to learn more); Dance for PD (click here to learn more); LIM Yoga (click here to learn more); Tai Chi for PD (click here to learn more).  

The exercise routine I really enjoy was created by Dr. Becky Farley, Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR), and they are named PWR!Moves.  There are four basic PWR!Moves (Up, Rock, Twist, and Step), and they are performed with large amplitude, high effort, and attention to action in multiple postures (sitting, standing, on-all-4’s, prone, supine). Click here to get a nice introduction to all 20 PWR!Moves exercises. PWR!Moves exercises specifically target four skills shown by research to interfere with mobility in people with PD (antigravity extension, weight shifting, axial mobility, and transitional movements). 

2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month- Exercise is Medicine (Part 1): Click here
Description of video content- (Parkinson Wellness Recovery = PWR) PWR!Moves, Exercises, and Motivational Quotes.
“To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up.” Ralph Bunche

Description of video content-2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month- Exercise is Medicine (Part 2): Click here
Description of video content-This video is about 2019 Parkinson’s Awareness, PWR!Moves, exercising, and motivational quotes.
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.” Phillip Sidney

2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month- Exercise is Medicine (Part 3): Click here
Description of video content-This video is about adapting PWR!Moves to TRX for stretching/exercising and motivational quotes.
‘”Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Benjamin Franklin

2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month- Exercise is Medicine (Part 4): Click here
Description of video content-This video is about 2019 Parkinson’s Awareness, axial skeletal stretches, PWR!Moves, and motivational quotes.
Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month- Exercise is Medicine (Part 5): Click here
Description of video content- Final 2019 video for Parkinson’s Awareness Month showing the positive benefit of PWR!Moves and exercises (measuring posture and walking) and including some motivational quotes.
“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” Roy Bennett

Exercise Alters How You Live With Parkinson’s: My goal here is to distribute information and to describe some possible positive attributes to exercise. Exercise is something I have done for much of my life; thus, giving it a more prominent role with the potential to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s is an easy decision. I recently said (click here),“Since receiving my Parkinson’s diagnosis, my opinion of exercise has changed.  With Parkinson’s, I’m now exercising as if my life depends on it.”

You may be in a different situation with family, life, career, and stage of Parkinson’s to add exercise to your already full life-calendar. But please consider carving out a ‘couple’ of hours per week, and pick one of the many exercise programs that are targeted to Parkinson’s. To get started, please consult your Neurologist, and find a good Physical Therapist or Personal Trainer. I recently offered some guidelines about what it would take to maximize the benefit of exercise with your Parkinson’s (click here).

“I’m going to be totally honest with you. Dealing with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is not easy and there is no one, single technique that will ease the pain and no magic pill that will miraculously enable you to cope with it. However … I sincerely hope that you are able to come to terms with the diagnosis and perhaps even come to view it as a positive life-changing experience.” John Baxter

Cover photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/janramroth/2535350974

11 Replies to “2019 Parkinson’s Awareness Month (Part 2)- Exercise”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks so much for these articles. I look forward to receiving them and trying and doing the things you mention.


    On Sunday, April 7, 2019, Journey with Parkinson’s wrote:

    > Frank Church posted: ” “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It > does.“ William James “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what > keeps you going.” Jim Ryun Part 2 of Parkinson’s Awareness Month is > Dedicated to Exercise:Introduction to Parkinson’s:What is Pa” >


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