Tremors are not the only thing that a person with Parkinson’s disease has to live with. They have balance issues, stiffness and also move slowly. According to World Health Organization, cases of disability and even death due to the degenerative condition of the brain are going up faster than for any other disorder related to the brain. In 2019, global estimates showed that more than 8 million people had Parkinson’s disease. Experts are still trying to find a cure for it, but there are ways to manage it. One of them is picking the right exercises too manage Parkinson’s disease. On World Parkinson’s Disease Day, which falls on April 11 every year, let’s find out which all exercises can help.
HealthShots reached out to fitness expert Varun Rattan to discuss more about it. He says that Parkinson’s disease can be a challenging condition to manage, but incorporating exercise into your routine can help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall health.
Benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease
Exercising can be a great help for people with Parkinson’s disease as it can help to improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, which can help reduce falls and injuries. Exercise has also shown to improve mood, boost cognitive function, and reduce stress and anxiety, all of which can be beneficial for those living with Parkinson’s.
Everyone’s experience with Parkinson’s is different. So, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, suggests Rattan. He says yoga can help improve flexibility, balance and coordination. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety. To do yoga, make sure you have a comfortable mat and loose-fitting clothes. There are many different types of yoga, so it’s important to find a style that works for you. Some good poses for Parkinson’s patients include tree pose and triangle pose.
Exercises to manage Parkinson’s disease
If yoga is not your thing, you can try out the following exercises.
Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise that can help to improve cardiovascular health and muscle strength. The expert says that a stationary bike would be a safer option for those struggling with balance. Don’t be in a rush, so start slowly. Then gradually increase your intensity as well as duration with time. Remember to wear a helmet and other protective gear if you are cycling outdoors.
Swimming is another low-impact form of cardio and muscular strength exercise. It can also help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. Take your own time to increase the duration.
3. Strength training
If you want to improve your muscle strength and endurance, do strength training. You can either use weights or resistance bands and train at least twice a week. It is important to focus on working all of your muscle groups during these strength training sessions for optimal results.
4. Hand exercises
Hand exercises can help improve fine motor skills and dexterity. Squeezing a stress ball can enhance grip strength, says Rattan. Activities like touching the tip of each finger to the tip of the thumb can assist with everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces and zipping up clothing.
If you want to challenge yourself, you can go for Tai chi, which is a form of martial arts that involves slow and flowing movements. It can help to improve motor function and quality of life in Parkinson’s patients. Just remember to move slowly and smoothly, and to breathe deeply throughout the practice.