60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) every year. There are many things you can do every day to improve your comfort, such as exercising. While exercising is important for everyone, it’s especially important for those with PD.
But how does exercise benefit PD? And Parkinson’s Disease attacks the nervous system, impacting your mobility. How can those with PD make exercise a habit?
More research is uncovering the benefits of exercise and PD. But we now understand how those with PD can implement exercise into their daily lives and why it’s recommended you hire a trainer.
Here’s everything you need to know about exercise for Parkinson’s Disease.
How Does Exercise Change the Body and the Mind?
Exercise is vital for everyone, for many reasons. One of the main reasons is the impact fitness has on both the body and the mind. This is integral for those with PD; exercise not only helps with mobility and balance but also increases feel-good chemicals that those with PD lose over time.
There are different sources and studies that state regular exercise may boost dopamine levels. A lack of dopamine is one of the theories about the cause of PD. Since nerve cells die, they aren’t able to produce enough dopamine to control muscle movement.
This all boils down to exercise’s effect on the body. With healthy nerve function and enough dopamine production, your brain can send proper messages to the muscles to keep them moving.
Exercise benefits a variety of bodily systems. For example, regular exercise can improve circulation, strengthening the heart.
PD can also affect the cardiovascular system. There are nerves throughout your body and different types of nerves control various functions. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls heart functions as well as respiration, digestion, blood pressure, and more.
If your nerve cells detect a change in your blood pressure, the cells will send messages to your heart that will control your heart rate and cardiac output.
Why Can Patients With PD Benefit From Exercise?
Exercises for Parkinson’s patients can improve many areas of mobility, including:
There are many stages of PD; exercise affects patients in various stages differently.
For example, those with mild to moderate PD will benefit from more intense exercises than those with severe PD. Intense exercise raises your heart rate and helps you burn more calories. High-intensity cardio (HIIT) and strength training are great examples of intense exercise.
What type of exercise should you do? Some good examples of exercise include bike riding, jogging, yoga, Tai Chi, and good ol’ fashioned walking. There are many coordination exercises for Parkinson’s patients, including yoga and simple strength training exercises (without weights). Walking can also improve your mobility and balance, helping you achieve independence.
While exercise isn’t a cure for PD, regular exercise can improve your mobility, decrease some of the symptoms, and enhance your overall quality of life.
When Should You Start Exercising?
Let’s say you never really exercised before and were just diagnosed with PD. When should you start exercising? The sooner the better. Exercising can not only strengthen the muscles and enhance mobility but can help save your dopamine production.
As PD advances, your nerve cells will start dying. Securing dopamine production will enhance your muscle strength and bodily movements, preventing the condition from degenerating.
What Is the Best Exercise for Parkinson’s?
There are many PD-friendly forms of exercise available. We mentioned a few before, but here’s a complete list of the best exercises for Parkinson’s:
- Treadmill jogging
- Strength training with bodyweight
- Aerobic exercise (bike riding, swimming, etc.)
- Resistance training (strength training with light weights, resistance bands, etc.)
- Stretching and yoga
No matter what type of exercise you choose, your exercise routine should consist of a warm-up and cool down. But this looks different for everyone.
If you have mild to moderate PD and still have great mobility, do a few simple exercises such as squats with no weights to warm up. Those with more severe PD can do seated, standing, and lying down exercises.
There are different ways to cool down after a workout. Stretching is a great example, but you can also go on a walk, jog, or do some light yoga.
No matter what warm-up and cool down you choose, you should always stretch before and after your workout.
While exercise is beneficial, the last thing you want is an injury. Find an exercise routine that’s safe and works for you. In addition, you should always make sure your exercise routine is PD-safe. If you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional.
What Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?
Everyone has a preference in the time of day they exercise. Some prefer exercising first thing in the morning to get it out of the way while others like exercising in the late afternoon or evening, usually after work.
There is no right answer to this question. The best time to exercise depends on your work schedule, when you go to bed at night, any medication you take, and your overall personality and preferences.
Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease: We Can Help Get You Started
Parkinson’s Disease causes many symptoms that impact your mobility. In order to prevent the severity of PD and maintain your independence, exercise for Parkinson’s Disease is necessary.
Are you interested in starting a workout routine but don’t know where to begin? You’ll want to find a trainer who can work with PD patients. We offer specialized training and education for those with all stages of PD.
There’s a course called The Parkinson’s Success System which is almost ready to come out led by Jonathan Rose who is a Master Trainer and Parkinson’s Specialist that teaches exercise techniques and stretches to reduce your symptoms and enhance your quality of life. With this course, you’ll improve your balance, increase your dopamine efficiency, and have better mobility.
We highly recommend you take The Parkinson’s Success Systerm course. You can sign up for the waiting list and be on the track to better health.