Exercise and Parkinson's Disease

Any tips on exercise to ease the side effects of Parkinson's disease?

Aside from working with your doctor on an ongoing plan primarily involving medications, one of the most important things you can do is exercise. Many people cite swimming, walking and yoga as favorites. The universal benefits of exercise in helping everyone feel better and improving overall health are well-documented. There is evidence that exercise may hold specific benefits for people with Parkinson's in staying active and relatively limber, and improving balance and motor coordination.


How can I get started on an exercise regimen?

PODCAST: Why Can Exercise Help? Spoken by Giselle Petzinger, PhD, of the University of Southern California.

It depends on your overall fitness level, but a good first step is to talk to your primary care physician and have a thorough checkup before starting any activity. For many people it's important to start slowly, and one good way to start is with a physical therapist. This way you can get an "exercise prescription" and work with an expert to determine what you can (and can't) do safely. Especially if you haven't been regularly exercising, it may be best to begin under the supervision of a professional who has access to professional equipment.

Are certain types of exercise best for people with Parkinson's?

PODCAST: What Forms of Exercise Help Most? Spoken by Lisa Shulman, MD, of the University of Maryland.

The best exercise is the one that your care team approves of and that appeals to you, because you'll stick with it. With that said, some options seem to be working particularly well for people with PD:

What research is being done on exercise and Parkinson's disease?

PODCAST: The Exercise Helpline. Spoken by Dr. Terry Ellis of Boston University.

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