Exercise is an important aspect of health and wellbeing for everyone. For someone with Parkinson’s disease, exercise is about more than just living healthy. It is an important component to maintaining mobility, balance, and continuing activities of daily life. Physical activity and exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and various research studies have supported their benefits.
People with Parkinson’s disease who start working out during the earlier stages (for at least two and a half hours per week) experience a slower deterioration in their health and quality of life than those who begin during a later stage to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Thus, establishing a habit of exercise early is vital for the overall management of the disease.
There are certain types of exercises that help to develop better posture and improve balance. In this blog post, we will explain which exercises can help you manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
What Type Of Exercise Is Helpful For Parkinson’s Disease?
There are many types of exercises that you can rely on to manage Parkinson’s disease. You can create a customized routine according to your needs and requirements regarding the overall health and fitness level.
Ideally, your aim should be to do at least a few minutes of physical movement every day. You should focus on exercises that build strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Here are a few types of exercises that may essentially be helpful to people with Parkinson’s disease:
- Occupational or Physical Therapy
We shall walk you through the specific exercises that you can try under each of the above categories.
Occupational And Physical Therapy
Occupational and physical therapy target specific areas of concern. They can help improve mobility, build strength, and maintain coordination. You will also benefit from increased flexibility and range of motion. The main aim of occupational therapy is to help you perform daily activities with ease and comfort.
A single-leg stand helps to maintain a steady walk.
- Stand straight with your hands on your waist.
- Slowly lift one leg off the floor and hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Try not to use your arms, but you can use them to support your leg if you need to.
- Lower your leg back to the floor and repeat this exercise with the other leg.
Hand exercises help to reduce tremors, improve hand and finger dexterity, and increase steadiness.
- You will need a dumbbell that is at least 1 to 5 pounds.
- Place your right wrist at the edge of a table with your palms facing upwards.
- Hold the dumbbell in your hand and slowly move the wrist as far up as you can.
- Maintain this position for 10 seconds and repeat with your left hand.
Yoga poses help increase flexibility, enhance concentration, and develop balance. They also help the body in terms of awareness and mindfulness. Yoga helps to promote relaxation and has a positive effect on breathing.
A 2018 study showed that people with Parkinson’s disease who did yoga twice a week for 2 months reduced their risk of falling. Yoga also showed improvements in posture and movement.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This is a simple forward stretch that relieves physical and mental tiredness and brings a sense of inner peace and calm. It also helps to loosen up thighs, ankles, and hips. Plus, it helps to relieve discomfort in the back and muscle tightness.
- Sit on a mat with your knees bent backward and slightly apart. Keep your heels firmly on the ground.
- Use your hips to push yourself forward and extend both arms in front of you as far as you can.
- Rest your body and place your forehead on the ground. You can also place your forehead on a pillow or a cushion.
- Relax and breathe deeply and hold this position for at least 5 minutes.
The warrior pose helps to stretch the body and improve balance. It also restores strength in the muscles.
- Stand straight and bring your right foot back and your left foot forward.
- Turn your right toe at a slight angle and keep your left toe facing forward.
- Force your body to move forward while bending your left knee.
- Put slight pressure on both legs and elongate your spine. Stretch both arms in opposite directions for support.
- Hold this position for 2 minutes and repeat with the other leg.
Aerobics build strength, enhance mobility and improve flexibility. They also help to burn calories while improving lung function and boosting cardiovascular activity.
Non-contact boxing improves agility, speed, and strength. It also increases hand-eye coordination, endurance, and balance.
- Stand straight with knees slightly apart.
- Create fists and place them in front of your shoulders. Your palms should be facing forward.
- Use the punching motion to strike your right fist forward with as much force as possible while extending your arm.
- Go back to the original position and repeat the same with your other fist at least 20 times.
- Stand straight with your feet slightly apart.
- Create fists with your hands and position them in front of your shoulders, facing forward.
- Punch your right first upwards while extending your arm and then punch it across the body.
- Return to the original position and repeat the above step with your left fist.
- Repeat the exercise at least 20 times.
The Bottom Line
If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s disease, exercise can help. There are several health benefits associated with exercise, especially for people with this disease. Staying active can help strengthen your muscles and joints, improve sleep quality, reduce depression and stress, and improve balance, gait, and posture. However, it is important to speak to your doctor before trying out any of the exercises independently.