Exercise to reduce or delay Parkinson’s symptoms

November 06, 2017 | by Carol Teteak, M.S.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. and is the second most common after Alzheimer’s. Individuals most affected are between the ages of 55-75, but those younger can be diagnosed as well.

Although the exact cause of this progressive disease is not known, Parkinson’s seems to predominately affect the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain which aid in movement of the body.

A growing body of evidence suggests exercise can be beneficial in neuroplasticity and the ability of the brain to self-repair. What does this mean for people with PD?

For those with Parkinson’s disease, exercise can help to stimulate the synthesis of dopamine in the brain, and reduce symptoms such as tremors, limb rigidity, slowness of movement, balance and gait issues. Exercise may also slow disease progression. One study showed that people with PD who exercised regularly for 2.5 hours a week had a smaller decline in mobility and quality of life over two years.

If you have Parkinson’s and you think you may benefit from an exercise program, we can help you get started. Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness offers Parkinson’s disease-focused exercise classes to fit your schedule, needs and abilities:

  • Delay the Disease®: In this research-based and nationally-branded Parkinson’s disease exercise program, a certified Delay the Disease® instructor leads participants through exercises to improve joint strength, range of motion, balance and coordination.
  • Parkinson’s Cycle: This program is based on a Cleveland Clinic Cycle study that revealed an increase in brain activity and reduction in PD symptoms after performing a specific cycle protocol.
  • Knockout Parkinson’s: Recently added in 2017, a certified Rock Steady Boxing® instructor leads this non-contact boxing and circuit-based training curriculum proven to be neuro-protective and delay progression of PD symptoms.
  • Healthy Motion: This class includes exercises to improve strength, mobility, balance and coordination.
  • Parkinson’s Boxing: A Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) specialist leads participants through this non-contact boxing and circuit training class.
  • Adaptive Parkinson’s Yoga: This weekly offering led by a registered yoga teacher includes yoga postures, breath techniques and guided visualization to support those fighting PD.
  • Parkinson’s Aqua: Held in our Therapy Pool, this class offers aquatic exercises to help support those with PD.

For more information on the Parkinson’s disease exercise programs listed above, please contact me, Carol Teteak, fitness coordinator, at 630-646-7920 or send me an email.

In addition to exercise programs, a Parkinson’s disease support group is held every fourth Thursday of the month from 1-2:30 p.m. in the third-floor Family Lounge at Elmhurst Hospital.

Learn more about treatment for Parkinson’s disease at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Learn more about Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

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