According to a new study from The University of Michigan, increasing everyday physical activity, or puttering, may be enough to help improve Parkinson's motor symptoms. Puttering may even make a bigger impact than vigorous exercise.
Of course, if you have a movement disorder this is often easier said than done. Motor symptoms like gait freezing make activity more difficult. Meanwhile, non-motor symptoms such as apathy, fatigue and depression can sap motivation to move.
Our community shared their favorite ways and best tips to get more movement in their days.
1. Schedule an alarm on your watch, computer or phone to get up and move around. If you're working on a project, you may find taking a quick walk or stretch helps improve focus, too.
2. Set a modest goal. Fitness trackers like FitBit and Pebble can help you track how much you move and set goals for small improvements. For example, you may vow to take 100 more steps than you did yesterday.
3. Listen to music. Play favorite songs that make you feel like getting up and moving. Research suggests that music can even help Parkinson’s symptoms like gait freezing. Many people with Parkinson’s find that moving to a rhythm helps them break out of a freezing spell.
4. Plan out specific chores that will get you moving during the day. When dividing up labor with a loved one, choose a few that require some activity, like watering plants or cleaning out a closet.
5. Spend time with the youngest members of your family, or take your dog for a walk. Kids and puppies never stop moving! If you don't have a pet, consider walking dogs for a local animal shelter.
6. Remember that small changes count, too. It's easy to be hard on yourself when pursuing a new fitness routine, but adding in an extra flight of stairs or parking farther away from the grocery store can make a difference.
7. Consider joining an exercise class or meeting with a physical therapist to see if more vigorous exercise can help you, too. Research also suggests that walking, running, cycling, swimming and dancing can all impact symptoms. A physical therapist can work with you to create a workout plan that fits your strength, flexibility and stamina.