Exercise is an important part of Parkinson’s treatment. Doctors often consider it as medicine. This is because doing regular exercise not only improves the symptoms but also slows the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a brain disorder that affects the motor functions of a person. The most common symptoms include tremor, slowness of movement, muscle stiffness, and balance problems. These symptoms are treated with medication. However, medication is not the only way of dealing with Parkinson’s symptoms. Exercise could also help to improve most motor symptoms.
Following are the main types of training that are helpful for people with PD.
Strength training helps to build muscle mass and improve the overall strength of a patient. It improves proximal stability and also activates receptors in joints and muscles and can reduce rigidity and tremors. It may also help to delay the progression of PD.
The training includes exercises that target the upper and lower body parts and can be performed using body weight or other tools like weight machines or free weights. It is good to perform strength training 45 min/day at least 3 times a week.
This type of training is recommended for almost all PD patients. It involves walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and stretching. These exercises help to improve the motor symptoms of PD.
Patients doing these physical activities are reported to have improvement in walking speed and balance issues. Moreover, they are also good for gaining strength. Doctors recommend doing this type of training at least 3 h a week.
Balance training has become very popular and often considered as the most effective one. It involves exercises that mainly address the mobility aspect of the disease. Yoga, Ti Chi, Pilates, and boxing are well-known examples of balance training.
Research has shown that performing balance training helps to improve balance, gait, and walking pattern of a patient. It also reduces the fear of falling. Additionally, the psychological health of a patient could also be improved with this type of training.
Parkinson’s patients are also recommended to perform the following hand exercises. These exercises help to reduce the tremor.
- Squeezing a ball: This involves holding a spongy or rubber ball in hand and then squeezing it for few minutes
- Spinning a pencil: In this exercise a patient needs to hold a pencil in the hand and spin it in between the fingers.
- Finger flicking: This exercise involves flicking the fingers away from the body.