Why you need to exercise:
Parkinson’s tends to lead people toward a sedentary lifestyle due to a combination of both progressive physical limitations (e.g. walking difficulties) and mental limitations (e.g. depression). Increasing physical activity in PD is beneficial and actually crucial for many reasons. First, exercise reduces the complications, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. Second, exercise reduces specific PD problems such as bone fractures due to osteoporosis, depression, constipation and sleep disturbances. Regular exercise is crucial to maintain and improve mobility, flexibility, balance, range of motion often associated with the progression of PD. Exercise may also postpone cognitive deterioration and might even slow down disease progression in PD! Sounds like you need to get moving!
The universal benefits of exercise in helping everyone feel better and improving overall health are well-documented. There is evidence that exercise may hold specific benefits for people with Parkinson’s in staying active and relatively limber, and improving balance and motor coordination. Aerobic exercise has neuro-protective properties that are beneficial to anyone, but particularly those with progressive neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.
What you need to be cautious of with exercise:
It is important to exercise safely. Since balance can be decreased by PD, be sure to decrease your risk for falls. It is recommended that you exercise when your mobility is at it’s best in relation to your medication.
Remember to consult your physician before starting an exercise program.
- Kohrt et al.Endurance Exercise Training to Improve Economy of Movement of People With Parkinson Disease: Three Case Reports. PHYS THER. 2008; 88:63-76.