Spring has finally arrived, and beautiful weather means more opportunities to get outside. Research strongly suggests that exercise can help improve many Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as balance and motor coordination.
If you're not a fan of running or biking, there are many other ways to get moving, especially in the springtime.
"The best exercise is one you will do regularly," says Rachel Dolhun, MD. "Find something you enjoy and feel safe doing so that you will stick to it."
And not every outdoor activity needs to be strenuous. Stress can make Parkinson’s symptoms worse, so any activity that helps you relax, like yoga in the park or a gentle walk in nature, can also impact symptoms. Take a look at our community's favorite springtime activities, and get excited about putting away that snow shovel in favor of running shoes, gardening trowels or a badminton racket.
1. Take a walk in nature. Strolling in the great outdoors in particular can help reduce stress, a study published in 2014 in the journal Ecopsychology found. In the study, walks were especially effective for people who had recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness.
2. Tend to a garden. Get a cardio workout and build strength through digging, pulling weeds, pruning and raking. Plus, grow your own healthy vegetables and take in the beauty of your hard work when your flowers bloom.
3. Enjoy the water with fishing, kayaking or swimming. An activity that rewards patience, fishing can be an effective way to relax and reduce stress while enjoying nature. Kayaking and swimming are fun, full-body workouts.
4. Play outside with pets. Your furry friends will be happy to get outside more, and research suggests that spending time with pets helps reduce stress and feelings of loneliness, especially for older people.
5. Try tennis, badminton or golf. All boost arm and core strength, and require coordination, too.
6. Go for a bike ride. Studies suggest that cycling in particular can help Parkinson's symptoms.
7. Mow the lawn. Several commenters mentioned that they enjoy tending to their lawns with a push mower. Push mowing in particular is a strenuous and satisfying activity that can help improve your fitness level as you check a chore off your to-do list.