Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease? Whether you’ve suffered from Parkinson’s for a few weeks, months, or years — we have treated many people just like you. We understand how frustrating it is to not get straight answers from doctors how to learn live with Parkinson’s. If that’s happening to you, you’re not alone.
Here is the 6 essential task to fight back your Parkinson’s symptoms:
- Try Task Specific – Big Powerful Movements;
- Mentally / Neurological Challenge;
- Keep Doing Physical Activity;
- One-on-one individual therapy sessions;
- Be More Social;
- Have Fun;
1. Try Task Specific – Big Powerful Movements:
Exercise and strengthening are an important part of healthy living for everyone.
When you use BIG movements, you’re working specifically to counteract the small, slow movements that come with reduced levels of dopamine. Consciously retraining your brain in large ranges of motion starts to create new movement patterns and changes the way your brain sends signals to your body. This is called neuroplasticity and requires lots of practice, practice, practice!
This concept builds the foundation of programs like LSVT BIG & LOUD, and PWR! Program, but it can be applied to any exercise you’re doing as part of your program.
Suggestion: Practice with getting out of the car in the driveway and get out as big as you can without help! And practice it all the time you go to the supermarket!
2. Mentally / Neurological Challenge:
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease and Scientist and researchers, including the Michael J Fox Foundation, have dedicated their lives to finding a cure.
Parkinson’s is a unique diagnosis as symptoms seem to fluctuate greatly with the level of attentiveness you’re giving to the task at hand. Therefore, your exercise program needs to incorporate activities that make you multi-task and challenge your mind and body at the same time.
There are a variety of ways to do this. Playing games with a variety of rules, layers, tasks and challenges is a great place to start. Also incorporating exercises that are new to you where you have to concentrate fully on learning the form and execution is wonderful when it comes to strengthening mind-body connection.
3. Keep Doing Physical Activity:
Regular physical activity and Exercise are an important part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), exercise is more than healthy — it is a vital component to maintaining Strength, balance, mobility, and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can improve many PD symptoms. These benefits are supported overwhelmingly by research.
But the exercises must be complex most of the time. We don’t have to forget that Main Goal here is to increase plasticity of brain that helps you to control your body.
4. One-on-one individual therapy sessions:
Certain symptoms that are specific to Parkinson’s — rigidity, stooped posture, freezing, small movements, lack of arm swing when walking, etc – are most effectively treated with specific exercise strategies.
These include (but aren’t limited to) exercises that focus on: Spinal, flexibility, Weight shifting, Rotation, Multi-directional stepping, Proprioceptive overload.
While Parkinson’s comes with some common symptoms overall, every person is different. This is where it’s so important to work with a Parkinson’s trained PT to give you a personalized program for your specific symptoms / challenges, and then check in every 6-12 months for an update to your program.
5. Be More Social
We need a tribe. Our brains were designed to thrive when we’re surrounded by people, and research supports that we’re healthier, happier and are more likely to achieve our goals when we’re part of a group. It also brings a sense of connection and belonging. Ways to get connected: Join a group fitness class (preferably one that’s PD-specific) in your area. Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to meet up with you for a few workouts or walks each week. Hire a personal trainer or PT to come to your house (if you can’t go to them) for a workout.
6. Have Fun
There’s a reason why kids’ brains develop so quickly — they play! When we play, our brains respond quickly because it’s one of the most potent ways to learn new movements and skills. Plus, laughter and smiles boost your mood and can actually be addictive (in a good way!) so that you’re more likely to exercise again. Give yourself permission to have fun when you’re working out. It will pay dividends.
If you know you should be exercising more but aren’t sure where to start, try to avoid getting overwhelmed. We offer free Discovery Visit Consultations where you can meet with one of our Parkinson’s specialist physical therapists and learn more about how we might be able to help free of charge! please call (512) 730-0231!
Natural Fit Therapy specializes in helping people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s+ stay healthy active and independent… without surgery or pain pills… even if you have been told you are just getting old!!!