By: Dr. Beth Templin
We have the pleasure of working with people who have Parkinson's Disease (PD) at HouseFit every day. It's one of our specialties. People with PD can present with a large variety of symptoms, making everyone with PD look different from others who have the same diagnosis. The four main symptoms of PD are tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness, and impaired balance.
While those are the main symptoms, most people with PD also experience a bent over posture, shuffling their feet while walking, difficulty getting up from a chair, difficulty moving in bed, small handwriting, lack of facial expression, slowness with eating, bathing and dressing. People with PD may also have a soft voice, difficulty speaking, foot cramps, trouble sleeping, depression, low blood pressure and memory changes.
As you can imagine, having a diagnosis of PD can be overwhelming. Fortunately, all of these symptoms can be improved with intense exercise. You may be surprised to hear that intense exercise is recommended for a progressive disorder such as PD. It's actually what research has shown to be most effective. It not only delays the progression of the disease, but it has shown to help regain some of the lost strength and independence.
It's common that people have symptoms for several years before seeking out medical advice and getting their official diagnosis. During that time they will experience a loss in their ability to move around to perform their day to day activities. By adding exercise back into their routines, they are able to get back much of that function.
People with PD have some special areas that need to be addressed when participating in an exercise routine, whether it's in a class setting or during 1-on-1 therapy sessions. It's highly recommended to incorporate the following principles into your exercise.
Since PD is a progressive condition, meaning it gets worse the longer you have it, it's not uncommon to receive expert Physical Therapy to help stay active and independent. If you or a loved one is living with PD, consider adding intensity to your exercise routine.
Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.