If you, a loved one or a friend have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, there are now more options available to help manage the disease and its progression.
What is the key? Exercise!
Not just any exercise. Specific exercises and a specific exercise program that will challenge your mind and body.
Exercises designed to improve:
- The speed and power of your movements
- Ability to perform your general activities of daily living
- Mental health and wellbeing
Over the last few years there has been some ground-breaking research into the management of Parkinson’s disease. It is now known through research that exercise slows the progression of the physical and cognitive decline associated with Parkinson’s disease. With Parkinson’s disease the earlier the exercise program is commenced the higher the improvement in motor movement capabilities are achieved.
We fully support medications as they are a very important part of the management plan for Parkinson’s sufferers, but exercise needs to be an adjunct therapy. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to increase medications so regularly as is often the case with the disease progression? Studies have shown that compliance with intensive exercise therapy delays the need for increase of drug treatments.
So, what is so special about these specific exercises and the program?
1. Exercises that train the brain.
This is by means of:
– Neuroprotection: This is the protection of the brain’s dopamine producing cells from further rapid deterioration. Exercise has been shown to protect these cells from continued destruction.
– Neuroplasticity: The capacity of the brain to re-wire connections for increased efficiency, leading to more efficient movement patterns and better motor-output. This re-wiring of your brain helps you to move more freely and with less conscious thought, thus enabling you to once again perform activities that you may have had to stop due to Parkinson’s. Exercise teaches your brain how to re-learn.
– Neurorestoration: The brain’s ability to increase grey matter through exercise. Resulting in improvement of cognitive function.
2. Exercises that train and strengthen the muscle and improve general fitness.
Parkinson’s results in a loss of muscle mass and decreased cardiovascular fitness. This is largely due to the adoption of sedentary behaviors that is common in Parkinson’s patients. Sedentary behaviour negatively impacts on overall health and increases the risk of other chronic diseases. Loss of muscle mass increases falls risks and the ability to perform daily activities. Improving muscle strength leads to improved physical movements.
3. Exercises that impact upon behavior and emotion.
Common behaviour and emotional issues seen in Parkinson’s include apathy, depression, anxiety and social withdrawal. This impacts not only the Parkinson’s patient but also family and friends. Studies support that exercise improves mood and feelings of self-worth, thus decreasing depression, anxiety and apathy. The flow over effect here is improving quality of life while managing Parkinson’s.
By completing the program and changing lifestyle habits on a daily basis you can live well with Parkinson’s.
Keen to know more?
To book an appointment with Aaron, or to find out if our PD Power program could help you, please contact us on 6646 3766, or book online:
References: Ahlskog, J. (2011). Does vigorous exercise have a neuroprotective effect in Parkinson disease? Neurology, 77(3), 288-294. Frazzitta, G et.al. (2014). Intensive Rehabilitation Treatment in Early Parkinson’s Disease: A Randomized Pilot Study With a 2-Year Follow. Neurorehabilitation And Neural Repair, 29(2), 123-131. McConaghy, M. (2018). The New Parkinsons’s Treatment, Exercise is Medicine. Haberfield: Longueville. Ridgel, A., Vitek, J., & Alberts, J. (2009). Forced, Not Voluntary, Exercise Improves Motor Function in Parkinson’s Disease Patients. Neurorehabilitation And Neural Repair, 23(6), 600-608.