Brian Lowe: “Always look on the bright side of life”

Interviews

Author: Simge Eva DoganPublished: 6 March 2019

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Brian Lowe Parkinson's

In the fifteenth in our series profiling the bloggers supporting the World Parkinson Congress 2019, we spoke to UK blogger Brian Lowe. He discusses the benefits of laughing yoga, attracting a global following and why he can’t wait to visit Japan


Describe yourself in a sentence. 

Being named Brian, I always look on the bright side of life!

Do you have a particular audience in mind when you’re writing? 

I write for people from the Parkinson’s community who are eager to find a better way to live with the condition. I like to focus on alternative solutions like laughing yoga and boxing.

Is there an aspect of Parkinson’s that you’re most passionate about?

One word – exercise! I don’t have a car, so I walk a lot which is great for reducing Parkinson’s symptoms and looking after my mental wellbeing.

I’ve also helped set up a couple of boxing programmes for people with Parkinson’s, a PD Warrior-style exercise class and I regularly take part in Nordic pole walking in the beautiful parks of London.

How widely read is your blog, and in which countries?

Last year, my blog was the fourth most read Parkinson’s blog in the UK.  The top three were all professional blogs from major UK charities – so I felt pretty pleased with that ranking!

My focus is typically on the UK and US (I live in both countries), but I’ve attracted readers from Japan, Nepal and beyond.

Have you been surprised by the global audience you’ve attracted?

Not really, I think people all over the world are eager for information. With social media and the growth of the internet, any blog that provides useful and practical information will be a hit.

Which of your posts has attracted the most interest from your readers?

A post about non-contact boxing for people with Parkinson’s. When I lived in San Francisco I was one of the first attendees at the local Rock Steady Boxing class, and here in London we’re slowly building a similar program. There’s a lot of buzz around this form of exercise and some university research studies are underway to validate its effectiveness.

Which has been the most controversial?

My post on laughing yoga raised a few eyebrows. There are 43 muscles in the face and the Parkinson’s ‘mask-like face’ is a well-known symptom. Laughing yoga helps exercise these muscles – and also laughter of any kind is good for one’s mental healthTry it, you’ll like it!

Talk us through your routine: when do you find time to blog?

Late evenings are best, and it always helps to have a deadline and an editor breathing down my neck!

What physical challenges do you face in writing and do you use any technology to support you? 

Typing is getting harder, even when fully charged with Parkinson’s medication and my spelling is getting wonky as my brain malfunctions sometimes.

The speech to text app on my iPhone and MacBook somewhat helps but they’re not perfect and can be frustrating sometimes.

What do you hope people will take away from reading your blog? 

I hope my blog will make people smile, motivate them to try exercise and lead them to enjoy a better quality of life.

How did you get involved with the WPC? 

I really like getting involved with Parkinson’s support groups, conferences and fundraising activities. The WPC is a global event and I love travel, so aligning myself with the organisation was easy and motivational. Going to Portland, Oregon from London in 2016 was exhilarating!

Can you share any memorable moments from the WPC in Portland?

I loved waiting in line for my morning coffee as it was a great opportunity to chat with new people.

The roundtable discussions were also amazing. For example, I have some Parkinson’s related eye conditions and I got to sit at a table with one of the world’s leading neuro-ophthalmologists and ask questions. Very powerful.

What are you most looking forward to at WPC2019? 

Meeting old friends and making new ones, learning about the latest research and immersing myself in Japanese culture – it’s a fascinating country.

Brian Lowe Parkinson's


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