6 tips to stay active while living with Parkinson’s disease

Health & Fitness

Author: Patricia SarmientoPublished: 25 August 2022

Parkinson's LifePrep: Parkinson's LifeCook: Parkinson's LifeServes:

Health and lifestyle blogger, Patricia Sarmiento, shares six ways people with Parkinson’s can stay active, from having an exercise routine to trying out martial arts, dancing while at home – and more

It’s no secret that exercise is healthy, but did you know it can even help in the fight against your Parkinson’s? Research shows that aerobic activity, in addition to strength, flexibility and balance exercises, can lower your symptoms and raise your sense of well-being. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, but here are six tips to lead a more active life with Parkinson’s.

1. Consider making home modifications

The truth is: most homes simply weren’t built to be compatible with the symptoms of Parkinson’s and need modifications to make life both manageable and safe. If you can hardly move around your home, the chances of you being able to stick to an active lifestyle are slim. Under the Fair Housing Act in the US, owners must make reasonable accommodations for renters. If you own your home and worry about the cost of changes, there are national and local grants devoted solely to providing safe and comfortable housing for those in need.

2. Create and maintain an exercise routine

Schedule specific days and times for exercise to make sure it happens. You can check a local gym or health club to see if they have any classes that work into your schedule. Don’t be afraid to try something different! Be sure to give yourself enough downtime and rest between activities, but off-days can be active too. Use them to exercise your creative side with art or writing, or take a walk through your favourite park.

3. Eliminate distractions

If you think you’ll do better focusing on your own, exercise solo. You may even find that it’s beneficial to tell friends and family that you’d rather not chat while walking. This is a great way to keep you a part of group outings while still getting to focus on your movements.

4. Dance

Whether you bust a move in the privacy of your bedroom or join a dance class with a friend, dancing is an excellent way to get your heart pumping and your joints moving. You can improve your range of motion, flexibility, and balance – not to mention your mood – all from dancing.

5. Try martial arts

One study observed participants with mild to moderate Parkinson’s symptoms and found that tai chi training improved maximum range and directional control of standing balance, functional reach, and stride length. Picking up this kind of hobby is a great way to exercise, improve your mood, meet new people, and develop a new passion.

6. Go high-intensity

Research suggests that high-intensity interval training may be more effective at improving Parkinson’s symptoms. The best part is, you can adjust any workout at your own comfort. You can try adding sprints to your daily walk, or increase your speed for thirty second-bursts throughout your bike ride. If you have a dog, challenge him to a race across the yard and then go for a relaxing walk together. The more you can incorporate your exercise into your regular routine, the better.

Leading an active life while managing Parkinson’s can be tricky, but it’s definitely possible. You can start small by adding enjoyable exercises into daily tasks – folding laundry is much more fun while dancing! Soon, you’ll be eager to find more ways to make exercising a part of your everyday life.

This article was first published in 2016.

Need to know

Patricia Sarmiento loves swimming and running. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into about health and health-related topics blogging for Public Health Corps. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shihtzu in Maryland, US.

Read more:

Every Victory Counts: will you get sporty for Parkinson’s disease? 

From Nordic walking to boxing: six sports for Parkinson’s disease



Go Back

Share this story


Related articles

An older woman practices boxing with a trainer.

Health & Fitness

From Nordic walking to boxing: six sports for Parkinson’s disease

Find out how exercise can help manage symptoms

A women seasons a salad with friends.

Resources & Tools

28 daily prompts to help you “live well” with Parkinson’s disease

Find out about the Davis Phinney Foundation’s 2022 calendar

a swimmer in a pink swimming costume swimming in a swimming pool

Health & Fitness

Every Victory Counts: will you get sporty for Parkinson’s disease?

Get moving with the Davis Phinney Foundation