How Can Exercise Help?
Exercise is something everyone should be doing. The more studies that are done on various chronic diseases and conditions that affect both the mind and body, the more it becomes clear that exercise is not only a key in preventing these conditions in the first place, but also in slowing their progression or in some cases reversing it. Parkinson’s Disease is one of those conditions. Exercise has been show to slow, halt, or even reverse the symptoms of the disease. A properly structured exercise program can help individuals in all stages of this disease significantly reduce symptoms.
What are the benefits of exercise?
This is the ability of the brain to reorganize, change and modify itself. What does that have to do with exercise? Well exercise may actually stimulate the brain helping it form new connections and restoring lost ones. For many chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s this can help slow the progression and possibly lead to modification or reversal. In 2006 Fisher BE et al, published a study that showed improvements in gait and sit to stand measures, the findings suggest that in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease exercise can normalize corticomotor excitability.[i] Also in 2006 Crizzle et al, published a review of research examining if physical exercise is beneficial for persons with Parkinson’s. They concluded that research supports the hypothesis that patients with Parkinson’s cam improve their physical performance and activities of daily living through exercise.[ii]
By engaging in an exercise program those with Parkinson’s will see improved cognitive function. 40% of people who have Parkinson’s eventually develop Dementia. Exercise can not only reduce this risk but also help improve memory, planning and multitasking.
Balance & Mobility
All in all there are a number of benefits to exercise for those with Parkinson’s. The earlier you start the better as research is showing that exercise may protect the dopamine producing nerve cells that are lost in Parkinson’s, enabling them to continue functioning and survive for a longer period of time. This can potentially slow down the progression of the condition, which unfortunately no other current treatments are able to do. Beyond that, exercise will help maintain ones abilities, balance, posture and enhance overall health.
What Type of Exercise Is Right?
How Do I Get Started?
It is important to be proactive and to get in touch with a qualified Physiotherapist at the time of diagnosis. Working with a qualified professional from the beginning to counteract and address things before they become an issue will improve a patient’s outcome. The therapist will create a tailored exercise program following an assessment based specifically on their needs.
At Pure Body Balance we are lucky to have Natasha Wilch who works exclusively with Patients recovering/managing neurological conditions. She has many years of experience in this field and can help those in both the early and later stages of Parkinson’s. Her goal is to ALWAYS work WITH the client in achieving their goals and maximizing their potential. If you would like Natasha to help you establish an exercise program contact us and set up an appointment.
If you are interested in learning more about Parkinson’s disease and the latest research regarding treatment of this condition with exercise visit http://www.parkinson.org/About-Us/Press-Room/Press-Releases/2015/June/A-National-Parkinson-Foundation-Study-Finds-that-R.aspx
To your health,
Keegan Marshall CPT, CES