5 Exercises to Combat Rigidity in Parkinson’s

What if Parkinson’s didn’t have to slow you down?

One of the worst parts of Parkinson’s is that it causes stiffness and rigidity. This can make it difficult to move around the house, much less to go to work or visit family members.

However, you can fight rigidity in Parkinson’s with the right exercises. Keep reading to learn what you can do to begin experiencing more freedom of movement as soon as today!

1. Ankle Stretches

To fight rigidity in Parkinson’s, you’ll need to stretch various parts of your body. And that includes ankle stretches.

A good standing calf stretch includes standing one foot away from a wall and keep your toes pointed at the wall. Anchor your heels and then lean towards the wall, catching yourself and then pushing back into position. Doing this 20 times will stretch calves.

Another simple stretch involves sitting down and raising up your foot. Try to trace the ABCs as large, capital letters using your big toe.

2. Neck Stretches

What makes these exercises specific Parkinson’s training for fighting rigidity? Ideally, these are exercises that target areas of your body where you are most likely to be affected.

Many who have Parkinson’s suffer from neck mobility issues. But you can fight this with the right neck stretches and exercises.

A good upper trapezius stretch involves sitting tall in a chair and grabbing the bottom of it with your hand. Turn your ear towards your shoulder until you feel the stretch. Hold that pose for 20 seconds and then alternate to the other side until you have done this three times.

Another good neck stretch is the levator scapular stretch. It also starts with you sitting tall and grabbing the chair bottom with one hand. Turn your ear towards your armpit until you feel the stretch: hold the pose for 20 seconds and then alternate until you have done each side three times.

Perhaps the simplest neck stretch is the neck rotation. Just rotate your head gently, keeping your chin level to the ground and repeating the rotation ten times. Doing this exercise twice a day can increase neck mobility.

3. Back Stretches

It often feels like we can’t catch a break when it comes to our backs. Many of us deal with unwanted back pain from a very young age. And when you have Parkinson’s, you must deal with back rigidity on top of back pain, though the right exercises can help with both.

One simple back exercise involves interlacing your fingers together and lifting them slowly overhead, palms out. You then simply look up at your hands until you feel a stretching sensation, hold it for 20 seconds, and then repeat this two more times.

At this point, you can probably see the importance of trying multiple exercises out. If you complete both neck and back exercises regularly, you may be shocked at how much your upper body mobility can improve! 

4. Trunk Exercises

When it comes to exercises, you may have never heard of the trunk rotation before. However, this exercise is a real game-changer for those trying to fight rigidity in Parkinson’s!

The trunk stretch involves lying flat on your back on top of a rolled towel. Start with your arms by your side and then bring them over your head without lifting your back. Hold that pose for 10 seconds before relaxing.

The trunk extension, meanwhile, involves starting by lying on your stomach with your arms lined up with your head and shoulders. Push onto your elbow while looking straight ahead. Hold that pose for 10 seconds before relaxing.

You can also rotate your trunk. You begin by lying on the floor and then bringing both knees to one side and then switching to the opposite side. Hold each side for at least 10 seconds before relaxing and then switching to the other side.

5. Hamstring Stretches

Just as we use our hands and fingers for different activities each day, we are on our feet for much of any given day. And if you have Parkinson’s, this will greatly affect your back over time, but you can stay fit with the right hamstring stretches.

The best back exercise to fight rigidity is the backflexion stretch. You begin by lying on your back, pulling your knees towards your chest while flexing your head forward. Once you feel a comfortable stretching sensation across your middle and lower back, you can relax before repeating this stretch three more times.

Other Ways to Fight Rigidity in Parkinson’s

The exercises we have listed above will make a major difference as you fight against rigidity. On top of these exercises, though, there are a few more things you should add to your weekly regimen.

One thing is you should consider taking up yoga. Yoga exercises naturally benefit those with Parkinson’s. This also provides an opportunity to make friends while benefiting from the instructions of a professional trainer (and you may even be able to find a Parkinson’s specific trainer).

If possible, you should take up weight lifting. The weights don’t need to be heavy, but adding even a small amount of weight resistance to your weekly exercises can help you develop strong muscles as you improve mobility.

Finally, don’t forget to treat yourself to a hot bath after you complete your exercises. Not only will it feel amazing, but the warm water will ease your stiff muscles and improve your overall mobility.

Your Next Move

If you want to fight rigidity in Parkinson’s, then you don’t have to fight it alone. At Training for All Ages, we specialize in personal training for Parkinson’s.

Are you ready to fight stiffness, improve mobility, and take back control of your life? You can click here to learn even more exercises to help boost mobility and fight rigidity!

Jonathan Rose wants as many people as possible to reap the amazing benefits of exercising regularly and eating healthy.  He provides people with exercise programs that are specifically designed for them to set them up for success to get on a well rounded exercise program helping them:  get stronger, more flexible, reduce weight and body fat if needed, improve posture, improve balance, mobility and agility, as well as stamina.  

Since 1992 he has been training children, adults and seniors to help them get in their best shape.  He specializes in working with seniors and people with Parkinson’s. He is very concerned about older people getting regular exercise so they have the strength, mobility and balance to live their lives and to decrease their vulnerability to falling.  He also trains caregivers and family members to help incorporate exercise in the people they are taking care of.  He develops programs for people who have Parkinson’s to manage and reduce their symptoms and teaches the caregivers and family members to help manage as well.  He teaches them exercises and stretches to do.  

Jonathan has a degree in Exercise Science and is a NASM Master Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Senior Specialist, Weight Loss Specialist, and Behavior Change Specialist.  He is also a Corrective Exercise Specialist in The Biomechanics Method as well as has two certifications by Gary Gray, Certification in Applied Functional Science and 3D Maps.

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