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Physical Activity and Parkinson’s Disease


 Why Aerobic Activities?
• Aerobic activities make the body’s large muscles move in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period of time.
• Aerobic activities improve physical fitness, including strength and endurance.
• Aerobic activities have a positive effect on slowness and stiffness, as well as mood, and quality of life.
Examples: brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, water aerobics, skating, hiking, treadmill or elliptical, Wii

Why Flexibility Activities?
• Flexibility or stretching exercises improve mobility, increase range of motion, and reduce stiffness.
• Improving range of motion affects posture and walking ability making everyday activities easier.
Examples: Tai Chi, stretching

Why Strengthening Activities?
• Strengthening activities improve muscle strength, walking speed, posture and overall physical fitness.
• Improving strength will help everyday activities, such as getting up from a chair, easier to manage.
Examples: yard work or gardening, weights/resistance (free weights, elastic bands, body weight)

Why Balance Activities?
• Balance activities improve posture and stability.
• Better balance reduces the fear of falling and helps in performing daily tasks.
Examples: Yoga, hiking, Wii

The contents of this document are provided for information purposes only, and do not represent advice, an endorsement or a recommendation with respect to any product, service or enterprise, and/or the claims and properties thereof, by Parkinson Society Canada. 2012.




This resource was developed with input from physiotherapists at Canadian Movement Disorder Clinics and reviewed by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.


Tips
✔ Take your Parkinson medications on time for maximum mobility.
✔ Take 3-5 minutes to warm up at the beginning and cool down as you finish.
✔ Exercise in a way that is safe for you (e.g., when doing balance exercises you may need a stable support nearby).
✔ Concentrate on doing the exercises correctly.
✔ Start with shorter periods of exercise and gradually increase. Greater intensity equals greater benefits.
✔ Monitor fatigue both during and after activities. At the end, you should feel tired, but not exhausted.
✔ Drink water to stay hydrated.
✔ Join a group or find an “exercise buddy”.


Click image to download printable pdf.


Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults (18-64 years and 65 years and older) do at least 150 minutes of moderate-to vigorous aerobic activity per week; and muscle and bone strengthening activities at least twice per week. www.csep.ca/guidelines.  

References:
1. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, Glossary of terms.
www.csep.ca/guidelines.
2. Parkinson’s Disease: Fitness Counts. National Parkinson Foundation. Accessed from:
www.parkinson.org.
3. Exercises for People with Parkinson’s. Parkinson Society Canada.
www.parkinson.ca.
4. Goodwin VA, et al. The Effectiveness of Exercise Interventions for People with Parkinson’s Disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Movement Disorders. 2008;23(5):631-640.
5. Goodwin VA, Richards SH, Henley W et al. An exercise intervention to prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s disease: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry with practical neurology. 2011;82:1232-8.

Other resources you may find helpful:
Exercises for People with Parkinson’s
Living with Parkinson’s
Medication Checklist
Progression of Parkinson’s Disease
Abstracts supporting the benefits of exercise for Parkinson’s symptoms