WebMD reports that exercise will not prevent Parkinson’s disease from progressing, but it helps to keep muscles strong and improve flexibility and mobility, thus improving patients’ balance and helping to prevent joint stiffening.
Patients should check with their physician before beginning any exercise program, as the physician may make recommendations about:
- The types of exercise best suited to the patient and those that should be avoided
- The intensity of the workout
- The duration of the workout and any physical limitations
- Referrals to other professionals, such as a physical therapist who can help create a personalized exercise program
The type of exercise that works best for each individual depends on his or her symptoms, fitness level, and overall health. Often, exercises that stretch the limbs through the full range of motion are encouraged.
WebMD offers tips for the Parkinson’s patient to keep in mind when exercising.
- Always warm up before beginning your exercise routine and cool down at the end.
- If you plan to workout for 30 minutes, start with 10-minute sessions and work your way up.
- Exercise your facial muscles, jaw, and voice when possible: Sing or read aloud, exaggerating your lip movements. Make faces in the mirror. Chew food vigorously.
- Try water exercise, such as water aerobics or swimming laps. These are often easier on the joints and require less balance.
- Work out in a safe environment: avoid slippery floors, poor lighting, throw rugs, and other potential dangers.
- If you have difficulty balancing, exercise within reach of a grab bar or rail. If you have trouble standing or getting up, try exercising in bed rather than on the floor or an exercise mat.
- If at any time you feel sick or you begin to hurt, stop.
- Select a hobby or activity you enjoy and stick with it. Some suggestions include: gardening; walking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, tai chi.