Workout in the wilderness with leading Parkinson’s health professionals
Health & Fitness
Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 19 July 2017
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Learn about the latest specialist research and gain physical skills to manage your condition in this intensive Parkinson’s exercise retreat in Ontario, Canada
People with Parkinson’s are being invited to the beautiful Hockley Valley Resort in Ontario, Canada, for a five-day exercise-focused retreat run by the One Step Ahead Mobility team of experienced physical therapists.
The ‘StepUp2PD’ programme will run from 23–28 July and will provide participants with up-to-date research and physical skills to help manage their Parkinson’s.
The therapist and facilitators running the retreat all have advanced training and years of experience in their fields, and are certified in Parkinson’s-related therapy and recreational programs including Lee Silverman Voice Training, Parkinsons Wellness Recovery (PWR!), Rock Steady Boxing and Neurologic Music Therapy.
Daily activities include outdoor Nordic walking and targeted exercise sessions, including circuit training, with a focus on amplitude of movement. There will also be skills building workshops and specialised sessions for partner education and support, including techniques for getting into and out of bed, getting up from low seats, dressing, and writing. Parkinson’s-focused activities such as tai chi, dance, water exercise and boxing will also be available.
The health professionals facilitating and leading the retreat are:
– Jan Goldstein Elman, BScPT, MHSc, physiotherapist
Regular exercise may slow progression of early Parkinson’s disease symptoms
A research team in Japan has suggested that around four hours of weekly moderate exercise is associated with a better clinical course of early-stage Parkinson’s. Their study, published in ‘Neurology’, drew on data from 237 people with the condition, whose symptoms were monitored over a period of up to six years. The research showed that people who were regularly active for at least one to two hours, one or two days a week, were better able to maintain daily activities than those who exercised less – and even experienced a “slower deterioration of processing speed”. The researchers highlighted that these benefits stemmed from maintaining regular exercise over time, rather than levels of activity at the onset of the condition. They added that their findings “suggest it may never be too late for someone with Parkinson’s to start an exercise programme”.
Could traumatic brain injury accelerate the onset of Parkinson’s disease?
Undergoing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) – a sudden injury that damages the brain – may be linked to Parkinson’s onset at an earlier age, new research suggests. The study, led by researchers in the US, examined data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Centre (NACC) database and assessed whether TBI was associated with age of disease onset, survival and the degeneration of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain. They found that while there was no significant association with age of death or greater impact on dopamine-producing nerve cells, results showed that TBI was linked to a 4.9-year earlier age of Parkinson’s onset. Reflecting on the results, the researchers wrote that traumatic brain injury “appears to accelerate Parkinson’s onset without altering age of death”. However, the researchers also cautioned that “the nature of this relationship remains unclear”.
NASA astronaut who lived with Parkinson’s disease has died
“When I got diagnosed with Parkinson’s I thought it was over,” US astronaut Michael “Rich” Clifford once said, in a webcast conversation with Parkinson’s expert Dr Ray Dorsey. But when US space agency NASA offered him another opportunity to board a space shuttle, despite the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, he didn’t hesitate. “And it was as easy as that.” Now, nearly 30 years since his final venture into space, Clifford has died due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He leaves a legacy of three journeys into space, several awards for his services to the space programme – including the NASA Space Flight Medal – and a history of advocacy for people with Parkinson’s. In a 2013 conversation with the Michael J Fox Foundation, Clifford said: “Everyone with Parkinson’s handles it differently. Don’t let it get in the way of living. “Life is too good. Keep going. The sky’s the limit.” Image credit:…