Parkinson’s Exercises That Can Alleviate Symptoms
Parkinson’s disease comes with a specific set of symptoms; if you or a loved one is dealing with this condition, you may notice that on any given day, certain symptoms are more prominent than others. This neurological disorder can manifest in a number of ways, including stiff, rigid muscles, resting tremor, issues with posture, and slower movements.
The good news is that with the right combination of exercises, an individual with Parkinson’s can alleviate symptoms and enjoy greater mobility and cognitive clarity. Read on to learn what types of exercises can help the most.
Parkinson’s can affect a person’s balance, so exercises that retrain a person in this area are very helpful. Balance training may involve any of the following:
- Side Steps: This involves taking a step sideways with one leg and bringing it back. Repeat this ten times for each leg.
- Figure-eight Walking: Two objects are placed on the floor, about six feet apart. Walk around these objects in a figure-eight, or infinity sign, manner. Do this five times, then repeat five more times going the other direction.
- Leg Stands: This one may be a little trickier for some people, especially the elderly, so any variations that the person is comfortable doing can work. Standing up as straight as possible, lift one knee up towards the chest. Hold it there for a few seconds before lowering it. Repeat three times with one knee, then do the same with the other knee. Switch back and forth for a couple more rounds.
What’s important to remember with these types of balancing exercises is that there’s no need to rush. It isn’t about speed; it’s about improving one’s balance. Slow and steady is far better than quick and sloppy!
Combined with exercises designed to improve one’s balance, resistance training can be extremely helpful. Here are examples of resistance training exercises suitable for individuals with Parkinson’s:
- Using Hand Weights: These don’t have to be heavy; even two-pound weights can be effective. Lifting these in a variety of ways can also improve a person’s range of motion.
- Swimming: For individuals with milder symptoms, swimming can provide many benefits, serving as resistance training, balance training, a cognitive improvement and relaxation activity, and so much more.
- Water Aerobics: An alternative to swimming is taking a water aerobics course. Exercising in water offers a healthy level of resistance; the water can also have a buoying effect, which is especially helpful for individuals with balance issues. The social aspect of this activity can combat the depression that some individuals with Parkinson’s experience.
When it comes to Parkinson’s exercises for resistance training, there are so many different options available! Do what you find fun, and then exercising becomes playtime. You’ll want to do it more often, and the increased frequency can benefit you in many ways.
Random Movement Exercises
These types of exercises improve a person’s reflex response, which slows down in many people with Parkinson’s. Random movement exercises could include any of the following:
- Jogging In Place: Slow-motion jogging is perfectly fine! Vary up your rhythm randomly to give your brain and your body a healthy workout.
- Dancing: In the world of exercise, is there anything more joyful, spontaneous, and random than dancing? Put some fun music on and bust a move!
- Table Tennis: If you have access to a ping-pong table, find a partner and play a few rounds of table tennis. You may find it a little frustrating at first, but if you can stick with it, you’ll notice improvements in your balance and coordination over time.
This category of Parkinson’s exercises is especially helpful for people with more progressed stages of the disorder who will do better with slower, move-at-your-own-pace type of activities. Here are several suggestions to consider:
- Yoga Poses: Thankfully, yoga offers something for all levels and abilities, from beginners to more advanced practitioners. A beginner’s yoga class may be a good place to start.
- Tai Chi: This Chinese martial art practice offers numerous health benefits to people of all ages.
- Stretching Exercises: The beauty of doing stretches is that you can do them anywhere, anytime, even sitting down! And they can be done at a pace you’re comfortable with.
Whatever Parkinson’s Exercises You Try, Enjoy Them!
The reason that so many different types of exercises exist is that so many different preferences exist! Exercise is good for your physical health, and when it’s fun and enjoyable, it’s also good for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Whatever types of exercises you choose to do, remember to have fun. If one type of exercise just isn’t working out for you, or you’re dreading doing it, move on! There are so many different options to choose from. Do what works best for you. Any type and level of movement will be beneficial in some way.
For More Ideas
The health professionals at Colorado In Motion regularly work with individuals who have Parkinson’s disease. We customize an exercise plan for every person based on areas that need to be addressed, ability levels, preferences, and much more. Our physical therapy and rehabilitation services help to increase each person’s mobility level, cognitive health, and overall outlook. We have several Northern Colorado offices to serve you, including in south Fort Collins, east Fort Collins, Old Town, Windsor, and Greeley. To get the help you want to alleviate your Parkinson’s-associated symptoms, get in touch with us today!