Recent research has shown that all types of exercise benefit those who have Parkinson’s. Exercise can help with stiffness and rigidity as well as improve posture and gait.   Balance is greatly enhanced by a regular program of functional balance activities.   Just moving a little more increases the mood and motivates to exercise more.  Aerobic exercise helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system that allows the oxygen delivery system to work more efficiently. 

The best exercise programs for those with Parkinson’s are those that challenge the heart and lungs.    

Exercises that promote good posture, balance, as well as trunk rotation work well with this population.  Also, rhythm type exercises such as dancing, boxing seem to greatly improve motor skills as well as stiffness. 

Any activity that requires a change in tempo or direction benefits too.  Types of exercises to consider are:  pilates, yoga, dancing, boxing and walking outside to name a few. 

Great sports to enjoy and help with Parkinson’s are golf, tennis, volleyball and badminton.    It is important to do cardiovascular exercises such as treadmill walking at different inclines or speeds.   To reap the full benefits of exercise, seek out a physical therapist first after your diagnosis so they can set you up for success.  Then look at the different fitness programs in your community and try the ones that will benefit you the most.  If unsure ask a certified personal trainer or fitness instructor what programs would be best for you.  

Remember, exercise is a good way to stay fit physically and mentally.  Exercise also helps us to be able to continue to do our daily living tasks.  In other words, move more so you can continue doing what you love to do.   

We all will be faced with challenges in our lifetimes, some harder than others, but exercise is the tool that we all need to be able to do the things in life we want to do. 

For more information about fitness, please contact:  Kay Colgan, Middleburg Pilates and Personal training, 14 S. Madison Street, Middleburg, Virginia or call 540-687-6995.