Watch: 13 people with Parkinson’s on the impact of exercise
Health & Fitness
Author: Saskia MairPublished: 21 May 2020
Prep: Cook: Serves:
“What are the benefits of exercise?” A new global video project sees people with Parkinson’s share how staying active has helped them manage their symptoms – and encourages others with the condition to join in
People with Parkinson’s around the world – from Wales to
Peru and Canada to New Zealand –share how exercise has impacted their life with
the condition in a new video project.
In ‘What are the benefits of exercise?’ and ‘What keeps you motivated?’, participants show their routines – from weightlifting and running, to cycling and boxing – discuss the challenges they’ve faced, and highlight the effects of regular exercise, which include improving balance and posture, and supporting mental health.
They also contribute fitness tips for those who struggle to form a workout habit. “Find what you enjoy and use that to keep yourself moving,” suggests John Reyes from the USA who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s aged 36, while Jonny Acheson from the UK, who was diagnosed aged 41, recommends setting “a goal or challenge – and if at first you don’t succeed, just keep trying”.
Video creator Christine Jeyachandran, who lives in Peru, was diagnosed with the condition aged 37 and took up gymnastics to help manage her symptoms. She says that the experience inspired her to organise the project.
that I’d go whether I felt like it or not. As I advanced and improved my range
of movement, it encouraged me to try harder things. I had to overcome apathy, doubts, fatigue and fear to get serious
about exercising – but the benefits have been worth the effort.”
Christine has also made a ‘Before and After’ video, demonstrating how her symptoms have improved since starting her exercise routine. But, she says, showcasing stories from people of different ages, with varying experiences, is essential to persuade others to keep fit.
“I didn’t want people to say: ‘I couldn’t do that – you are younger and less affected than me’. So, I asked if others had benefited from exercise, and the videos say it all. These stories communicate with people with Parkinson’s better than scientific studies.”
And, although many are confined to their homes during the
coronavirus pandemic, it’s still vital to keep moving.
“Society might be in lockdown, but Parkinson’s disease is
ongoing,” she says. “In these times, it is harder to keep self-motivated, and if
I don’t exercise my body stiffens up and dyskinesia increases.
“Being stuck in an apartment gets to me, but when I do my
abdominal workout I feel so much better.”
Exercise and Parkinson’s
Research indicates that exercise can be neuroprotective – meaning it can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s. It can also provide physiological benefits
Ask for professional medical advice to find activities that suit your fitness and mobility level
Include a mixture of stretching, strengthening, weight bearing and balance exercises, alongside aerobic activity
Make sure you warm up first, and don’t try to do too much too quickly
How Michael J Fox inspired my fight against Parkinson’s
My inspirational meeting with Michael J Fox
3 days ago
Loneliness may increase severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms
Researchers in the US have found that people with Parkinson’s disease who experience loneliness may be at an increased risk for severe symptoms related to the condition. As part of the study – published in the medical journal NPJ Parkinson’s Disease – researchers collected information from 1,500 people with the condition between 2014 to 2019. Those who reported being very lonely were also less likely to exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet – and more likely to experience a lower quality of life. Dr Indu Subramanian, neurologist and author of the study, said that the team were “surprised” by some of the results and that “one of the most detrimental things is actually being lonely”. The negative impact of loneliness on the severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, she added, was as large as the positive impact of exercise. In light of Covid-19 and the resulting social isolation, the research…
Can tremor predict the effect of Parkinson’s disease medication?
Researchers from the Netherlands have found a link between tremor symptoms and how dopaminergic medication impacts learning abilities in Parkinson’s disease. Many people with Parkinson’s become sensitive to learning through rewards due to a decrease in dopamine in the brain. As part of a new study – published in the scientific journal Brain –researchers assessed 43 tremor-dominant and 20 non-tremor dominant people with Parkinson’s while they were on and off dopaminergic medication. The results showed that in people with Parkinson’s who do not experience tremor, dopaminergic medication improves the ability to learn from rewards – and in those with tremor, the medication has no impact on reward learning. Rick Helmich, co-author of the study and a neurologist at Radboud University Medical Centre, the Netherlands, said: “Whether someone experiences tremor or not might therefore potentially have a significant predictive value regarding the effectiveness of medication in the cognitive domain. However, more…
Could a ‘Mediterranean diet’ lower the risk of Parkinson’s for women?
A study by scientists in Sweden has suggested that women who eat a ‘Mediterranean diet’ at middle age could have a lower risk of Parkinson’s later in life. The report, published in the Movement Disorders journal, used dietary information from more than 47,000 women aged 29 to 49, recorded between the early 1990s and 2012. They looked at how closely the women adhered to a Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP), which is high in foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, unsaturated fats and legumes. They then compared the information with data from the Swedish National Patient Register to find out whether participants had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The researchers found that those with a high adherence to the diet had a 46% lower risk of being diagnosed with the condition compared to those with a low adherence, concluding that “higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet at middle age was associated with…