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MrsTNdad

What's best exercise for the PD patient?

72 posts in this topic

True, And a lot softer if you fall! :)  I also heard ballroom dancing is good for balance and 'freezing'. It helps that you have a partner when dancing.

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I do a movement for PD once a week plus stationary bike.  There's a very good CD out...Dance for PD at Home presented by Brooklyn Parkinson Grp.

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If he has problems with balance, he should probably do specific balance exercises. The following are balance exercises I was prescribed while in Physical Therapy.  (Plus some extensions of the exercises I’ve added myself.)  The first one is fairly elementary (if your symptoms aren’t too severe, but many people will still find it challenging):

 

A. Stand on two legs

  • Extend your arms out from shoulders, if you need to do so to maintain balance
  • Bend your knees slightly, if you need to do so to maintain balance
  • Look forward
  • Slowly rotate your head left, then right
  • Eventually do this exercise with your hands at your sides
  • Eventually do this exercise with your eyes closed and your head steady
  • Eventually do this exercise with your eyes closed and your head rotating slowly from side to side

 

The next one is considerably harder:

B. Stand heel-to-toe (right leg in back, left leg in front)

  • Extend your arms out from shoulders, if you need to do so to maintain balance
  • Bend your knees slightly, if you need to do so to maintain balance
  • Look forward
  • Slowly rotate your head left, then right
  • Eventually do this exercise with your hands at your sides
  • Eventually do this exercise with your eyes closed and your head steady (this will likely be really hard)
  • Eventually do this exercise with your eyes closed and your head rotating slowly from side to side

 

Then switch legs (left leg in front, right leg in back) and repeat.

The next one is about as difficult as B:

C. Stand on one leg

  • Extend your arms out from shoulders, if you need to do so to maintain balance
  • Bend your knees slightly, if you need to do so to maintain balance
  • Look forward
  • Slowly rotate your head left, then right
  • Eventually do this exercise with your hands at your sides
  • Eventually do this exercise with your eyes closed and your head steady (this will likely be really hard)
  • Eventually do this exercise with your eyes closed and your head rotating slowly from side to side

 

The next one is also about as difficult as B:

D. Stand on one leg

  • Hold a five or ten pound dumbbell in one hand
  • Slowly swing the dumbbell counterclockwise around your waist
  • Switch hands as needed
  • Repeat 5-10 times
  • Reverse direction
  • Eventually do this with your eyes closed

 

You can also stand on a wobble board, on two legs, and eventually one leg.  And then you can try the wobble board - on one leg or two - with your eyes closed. For the record, I find B and C quite difficult with my eyes closed.  I can't do them at all with my eyes closed and head rotating.  I can't do D at all with my eyes closed.  I can do the wobble board with two legs, and with one (but not with my eyes closed).

I suspect that doing B, C, D, and the wobble board ones with eyes closed and head rotating would be challenging for anyone, Parkinson's or not.

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I also have a Wii Fitness that has an entire set of balance related exercises disguised as games- it is actually recommended by the NPD. 

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Annikin,

 

Ballroom dancing? I'm reminded of Indiana Jones in the raiders of the last ark. Snakes, snakes, why did it have to be snakes!!

I feel the same about ballroom dancing. Ill admit I've watched my fair share of scantily clad dancers on dancing with the stars. But now my wife will hound me into the ballroom. Yikes!!

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Thanks for all of your posts & care. After years nagging & begging, my husband & I finally tried Tai Chi for the first time. Albeit it only 30 min., I do feel I can breathe a bit better. I hope he does it too. Ballroom dancing would definitely be my best choice for his therapy.

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Ooops my bad, TN dad. Just play the PD card and step on her feet alot and she'll probably let you off the hook. She'll be none the wiser..... She's right behind me isn't she?  :)

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I think exercise is really important. Here's my thoughts of things to try:

 

1) Really good assessment by a physical therapist who sees mostly PD patients. My husband's PT helped us  find equipment we could buy for him to use at home (balance cushion, exercise bands, etc.).

2) Tai Chi. My husband goes to class especially for people with PD. It is supported by the local parkinson's group so he only pays $5 per class. 

3) BIG or BIG and Loud Therapy. Intense (1 hour a day, four days a week for four weeks). Well worth the time and effort. http://www.lsvtglobal.com/

4) Pole Walking. Lots of research on this one being conducted for people with PD. 

5) Biking. We are planning to get a recumbent bike for my husband. He bikes outside and uses a stationary bike now. Faster RPMs are recommended. 

6) Treadmill. We are also planning to invest in a treadmill. Need to turn a room into a mini-gym. 

7) PWR! Moves and Classes. My husband has been able to participate in the week-long retreats for the last two years. He attends a PWR! moves class once a week and does many of the exercises at home. http://www.pwr4life.org/   

 

Good luck. 

Edited by Golden01

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I don't know what is the best but I can tell you what I do. ! am 64 years old and have had PD about 6 years

 

1. In nice weather I try to walk 2 miles twice a week. For safety reasons (leaning forward and going faster than I can control) I always use a walking stick. Mine is a simple 5 foot stick made out of dogwood

 

2. I have a recumbent bike at home that I will get on for 30 minutes 3 times a week. From what I have researched a high rpm (70-80) with little or no resistance is better than lower rpm with some resistance. I have mine sitting in front of the tv in the living room

 

3. In the summer I will swim maybe once a week. And I walk backwards in the pool. If I fall - no big deal

 

4. I joined a health center and have a personal trainer 2 days a week for an hour. If you are like me when I first started I didn't know how to use the various machines so he was very useful,, The things we do are;

 

A. Moderate weight training. Be careful and not over do it or you will exasperate your PD

 

B. With someone holding me to keep me from falling I try to stand on 1 leg for 1-2 seconds

 

C. Again with someone holding me I walk backwards

 

D. I emphasize those weight training exercises that twist my body

 

E. Again with someone holding me I practice stepping up onto a 8 inch platform and also stepping over it 

 

F. Boxing. I have never thrown a punch in my life before but I really like this. My training partner puts on boxing mitts and moves his hands around. And I try to hit his mitts. Not only is it fun  and good for your coordination but it is also a good cardio workout. About 10 minutes is all I can do and I am pooped. I tell folks that I am getting ready to cage fight. What a joke.

 

G. And a new exercise I tried yesterday that I really liked is play catch with some one about 8 feet away using a 6 pound ball

 

If I had to just narrow it to 3 it would be walking, recumbent bike and those balance exercises with someone holding me in case I should try and fall.

 

Walking though is hard to beat. I had to relearn how to walk. A 90 year old speed walker showed me how to swing my arms. And since my place where I walk is around a state owned fish hatchery there is usually no one there but me.So sometimes I yell as loud as I can to exercise my vocal chords and if I do run across someone I just pretend that nothing happened. But do make or buy yourself a walking stick

 

 I try to get in 30-60 minutes of some kind of exercise at least 5 times a week and some days I will double up

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I like your spirit. I will defintely relay your enthusiasm to my husband. Keep exercise & carry on.

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There is a book called "Delay the Disease" available on Amazon with great exercises with pictures developed by a physician with Parkinson's and his personal trainer. The author works with patients in Ohio and helps teach physical therapists. One of mine at Vandi I Nashville trained with him. He has more than one book now as well as video.

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Whatever he likes to do. It is important that he does things at HIS fitness level. I love yoga and lifting weights. Swimming and just basic stretching exercises are good also. The most important thing is to start easy and work your way up slowly. Do not let him overdo it.

 

I also like dbogler's list a lot!!!

Edited by Brad24

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New exercise book and DVD out from Dr. Becky Farley. Ordered one for my husband yesterday! Her exercise advice has helped him so very much. Now, if we can just figure out what it going on with his back so he can get back to the exercise he used to do. Recently started Sinemet to see if the tight muscles and pain was coming from being undermedicated, hasn't helped so it is back to his doctors to see what else they can figure out. 

 

http://www.pwr4life.org/pwrstore/

Edited by Golden01

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I am 67.  I was diagnosed in December last year.  Most of my care comes through the Vetrans Administration.  However I do have Anthem Blue Cross (ppo).  Anthem pays for a "silver sneeker" (high level unrestricted) membership at 24 hour fitness gym.  Several other gyms offer "silver sneeker" memberships as well.  I've never been much of a gym guy before but let me tell you, it has changed my life and given me a great deal of hope.  I paid a little extra for a personal trainer and told him straight out that I was recently diagnosed with Parkinsons so I had some balance issues and a few other things he would need to work with.  I told him I wanted to be very agressive.

 

This is my recomendation.

 

Curt

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I like you spirit Curt. I hit as hard as I can every day. Keep it up!

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I am on the treadmill 5x a week for exercise.  My physical therapist has me walking backwards part of the time to help with balance.  Obviously I have to hold onto the rails but is an excellent way to work on balance.  I also lift weights & use a theraband (stretchy band) to help with rigidity issues.   

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I am 67.  I was diagnosed in December last year.  Most of my care comes through the Vetrans Administration.  However I do have Anthem Blue Cross (ppo).  Anthem pays for a "silver sneeker" (high level unrestricted) membership at 24 hour fitness gym.  Several other gyms offer "silver sneeker" memberships as well.  I've never been much of a gym guy before but let me tell you, it has changed my life and given me a great deal of hope.  I paid a little extra for a personal trainer and told him straight out that I was recently diagnosed with Parkinsons so I had some balance issues and a few other things he would need to work with.  I told him I wanted to be very agressive.

 

This is my recomendation.

 

Curt

Hi Curt, just wanted to ask if you were a vietnam vet.The Va pays comp for parkinson if you were a in country vet. navy vets should soon also qualify

vet

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Wow...luv this thread. Great ideas and motivation to jazz up my routine..I walk the desert and swim. But want to add the great passive exercises that can be done while relaxing ..and incorporated into your day without much effort...the exercise balls...sitting on them, or having them by your chair and using them for a foot rest. As u are watching the news, you can roll the ball back and forth and work your legs...you find you are exercising without even knowing it. Just a word for those who aren't as buff as some of you folks :)

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I bought one for work- it allows me ( forces me) to move  to stay balanced and not get stiff plus I can hide my difficulty sitting still by passing it off as small exercise moves.

 

On that note the Young Parkinson's newsletter today had a great article on the possible link between PD and mitochondria- in laymen's terms the power house of the cell. And lends support to the idea the exercise may be the single most important approach to PD. Something in YOPD appears to interrupt a necessary steps in getting the certain raw  materials to the mitochondria ( that's a real simple synopsis of the process that really quite complex and brilliant). When you exercise you actually do the only thing that seems to slow down Parkinson's- - you increase muscle mass and in doing so make more mitochondria. More of that means more energy.

 

The really cool thing about mitochondria is that it has its own unique DNA different then the nuclear DNA you get at conception- ( you get 1/2  of that kind of DNA from each of your parents), and it is capable of reproducing on its own- like the chloroplasts in plants these little power houses which you have in multiple copies in all your cells may actually be discrete organisms (bacteria to be exact) in their own right living in our cells as symbionts ( no I am not making this up- every biologist knows this) your cells provide the raw materials for the mitochondria and they produce the cells' energy- it happens in nature in more instances then you can imagine.  Coral reefs are a strong image that comes to mind. If the symbiont does not get what it needs it dies (in corals the coral heads eject the zooxanthellae- also called coral bleaching and both die). I f the mitochondria does not get what it needs it dies and eventually so does the cell it lives in.

 

Also something men are always shocked to hear and totally a side note- the only true genetic lines passed relatively unchanged from one generation to the next are the mitochondrial ones-  not passed on by you to your sons but rather passed on by mothers to their offspring along with 90% of cell content ( sorry guys you pass on 1/2 of your nuclear DNA and a little sugar to get the swimmers here they want to go and that's it) and then only passed on to the next generation by their daughters. 

 

So what brings me to my little biology lesson- all cells in your body possess mitochondria- including your brain- if they are on the right track with this research they may have found a target for PD- those little mitochondria. What ever interrupts the pathway that  fuels the mitochondria may be due to PD- seems promising given the huge decrease in energy reported by so many w/ YOPD. This would also support and further explain the benefit if exercise. The amount of mitochondria in a cell is usually highest in the higher energy cells like in muscles and lower in tissues like fat- they even contribute to the darker color of muscle tissues  as they are  reddish- brown color.     This is a line of research worthy of watching......

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I exercise about a half hour after I take sinemet. I add a little and it heps me get through.Weight training seems to help the best. My nordic trac is the remedy for a quicker mind and a stronger heart.Staying active ,dont sit to long,and be happy.being mindful to all our thoughts and acts will get us through.PD can't defeat us.

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