If you were recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may have a lot of questions about how your life will change. What kind of symptoms can you expect? How will they change over time? Is there anything you can do to stop their progression? The answer to that last question is “yes”, and this article will show you how to do so with exercise. Before we go on, and if you haven’t already, you can download a free copy of the Parkinson’s Disease: An Introductory Guide, which will answer the other questions and more.
With or without Parkinson’s, you probably know that exercise and fitness are important to maintaining your health and living well. Or perhaps you have an active lifestyle already and want to know how to maintain it after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. You’re in luck. Many research studies support regular exercise as a way to lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s and slow down their progression and there are many exercise programs specific to people living with Parkinson’s.
So how do you build a new routine that takes into account the changes happening to your body due to Parkinson’s? Here are a few simple suggestions to help get you started.
3 suggestions on how to get started with exercise
1. Set an exercise schedule
Block off a regular time for yourself to exercise. This helps keep you accountable for your own health. The goal is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine as soon as possible so that you’re always one step ahead of the progression of your symptoms.
2. Learn about exercises that specifically benefit Parkinson’s
Get to know which exercises particularly help in minimizing Parkinson’s symptoms. Christine Seaby, a registered massage therapist who works with many people living with Parkinson’s through Boxing 4 Health, recommends exercises that focus on intensity, grand movements and rotation of the spine. This helps you to keep good posture and reduces pressure on your lower back and shoulders, which helps prevent injuries or falls.
3. Join an exercise program
Find an evidence-based exercise program that’s tailored to managing Parkinson’s. Boxing 4 Health is one example that is supported by neurologists and physiotherapists. They also have programs specifically for people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Besides helping you to come up with a regular exercise routine, exercise programs have the added benefit of social interaction, whether it’s with your trainer or your exercise classmates. Having a community cheer you can have huge implications on your motivation to exercise and your mental health.
You may even see some familiar faces. Members of the Boxing 4 Health gym are one of Canada’s top fundraising teams for Parkinson Canada SuperWalk.
The video below shows a variety of activities you can try by joining an exercise program:
Share your journey with exercise in the comments below!