Our understanding of Parkinson's Disease has improved in leaps and bounds over the last 5 years. As our understanding of the condition has improved, so has our appreciation for the role exercise plays in the management of this condition. Exercise is shown to benefit people diagnosed with Parkinson's physically, mentally and socially.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
One of the main effects of Parkinson's disease is a loss of dopamine cells within the substantia nigra in the mid brain. Which is a very scientific way of saying our brain is unable to produce as much dopamine.
Dopamine is known for the role it plays in pleasure and feeling good, but Dopamine also plays a vital role in movement. It is vital for central nervous system functions such as movement, pleasure, attention, mood, and motivation.
Unfortunately Parkinson's is a degenerative condition that cannot be cured. Although, the timeline looks different for each individual and there are many ways to slow and manage the condition.
SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE
Someone who has Parkinson's will commonly present with the following symptoms:
Tremor (shaking - commonly in the hands and feet)
Bradykinesia (slowed movement)
Muscle rigidity (stiffness - limiting your range of movement)
Impaired posture and balance
Speech changes (speaking softly)
Fine motor skills (changes in writing)
EXERCISE AND PARKINSONS DISEASE
The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project (2020) shows that people with Parkinson's who start exercising experience a slowed decline in quality of life (improved quality of life!). Establishing early exercise habits is essential to overall disease management.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
1. Physiological Benefits
Neurological - improved efficiency and function of our bodies communicators - the nerves. Exercise drives the brains natural ability to re-wire itself.
Muscles - improved muscle strength will facilitate easier movements, including walking and standing. Exercise also supports our joints, plays a role in our balance, bone health, metabolism and many more.
Cardiorespiratory - improved performance of our heart and lungs to help with breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
Pain - a stronger body will have less pain in daily life.
2. Psychological Benefits
Exercise induces an endorphin response, which means more feel good hormones!
You may notice increased social interactions, increased sense of accomplishment, improved motivation, improved confidence and self efficacy.
3. Improved Sleep - regular movement has been proven to assist with circadian rhythm and sleep schedule.
4. Life Expectancy - "Increasing physical activity to at least 2.5 hours a week can slow decline in quality of life" (Parkinson's outcome project, 2020).
5. Independence - Slowing the progression of Parkinson's symptoms through exercises has been shown to reduce falls risk and help prolong independent living.
EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY FOR PARKINSON'S
Have you or a family member has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane or Gympie region? Our dedicated team of accredited exercise physiologists can help you regain your confidence and quality of life.
They will take a personalised and specialised approach to your care, developing an exercise plan that will best meet your physical needs and health goals.
Contact us on 9546 1599 and make an appointment with an experienced exercise physiologist today! We have several clinics throughout South East Queensland and home visits are available. Start living your best life!