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Parkinson’s Disease and Medical Exercise

Parkinson’s Disease is a slowly progressive neurological disorder that effects voluntary movement.  Degeneration in the brain leads to tremor, muscle rigidity, difficulty moving and postural instability.  Normally, you’ll see Parkinson’s in older people – commonly the 50-75 age group. Much less common is early onset.

There’s a link between Parkinson’s and dementia – with approximately 15-20% of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease developing dementia.  In later progression of the disease, a walker can help with balance and self-confidence in walking.  This will keep the individual mobile longer, and socially active.

What are signs of Parkinson’s?  Symptoms to watch for include:

  • A rhythmic tremor in the hand while the hand is at rest.  Emotional stress or fatigue may cause the tremor to increase.  Tremors may also occur in other parts of the body such as eye lids, legs, arms and tongue.
  • A reduced sense of smell.
  • Difficulty walking and a reduction in body movements.
  • Lack of facial expressions with infrequent blinking, and monotone speech.

These symptoms may increase substantially as the disease progresses.

People with Parkinson’s Disease will have difficulty walking.  Often it feels as though their feet are glued to the floor.  They may experience strong tremors trying to gain the first step and once moving be all right. However, the tendency is to take that first step too quickly breaking into short stumbling steps causing that individual to become over balanced which may lead to them falling forward.

Early detection of these symptoms is important to note as exercise will help a persons with Parkinson’s stay in a more positive and happy frame of mind.

An exercise program should incorporate:

  • Stretching
  • Strength Training
  • Aerobic Conditioning
  • Aquatic Exercise
  • Range of Motion exercises

Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease would do well to embark on a program early.  Studies show that individuals with Parkinson’s who embark on a steady exercise program improve their balance and posture and have an easier time managing daily activities.

Care & Company and its associated fitness studio, Fit For Life, can develop an exercise program to help people with Parkinson’s maintain their mobility for as long as possible. Contact them to ask about the program.