It is thought that regular exercise can help maintain and improve balance, range of motion, increase muscle strength, balance and stamina in Parkinson’s patients. It can also help to reduce anxiety and depression. Here's a gentle workout to get you started. Click picture for info.
PARKINSON’S DISEASE is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that causes nerve cells that produce dopamine (a chemical that helps control motor function) to gradually die off. Symptoms usually start small and get worse over time.
Parkinson’s currently affects about one million people in the US and about 50,000-60,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. It affects more men than women. Most are over the age of 50. The cause is not known. Although some cases seem to be linked to genetics, exposure to chemicals like pesticides and other environmental toxins are suspected to contribute to the disease.
Symptoms vary greatly from person to person. People with Parkinson’s will not have every symptom.
The main symptoms of PD are:
• Tremors of the hands, limbs and/or face. Tremors often start small in one hand or on one side of the body and progress slowly to other parts. Tremors can occur when the affected limb is standing still (resting tremor).
• Rigidity, stiffness in the muscles of the arms, legs or torso can cause pain and difficulty getting around.
• Bradykinesia, slowness of movement. As Parkinson’s advances, patients may experience an inability to move at normal speed.
• Balance issues. Parkinson’s causes postural instability. Patients have a hard time walking and balancing in general. (Many new PwP™ participants will find the bike seat a challenge, particularly at first.) Steps get smaller and they are prone to falls.
• Weakened face and throat muscles can cause patients to lose their ability to
create facial expressions and to speak in a soft monotone voice.
Other symptoms can include depression, incontinence, constipation, loss of sense of smell, and problems with swallowing, writing, and sleep. Loss of mental function occurs in about 20% of Parkinson’s cases.
Although motor function symptoms can be severe and make the Parkinson’s patient appear mentally disabled, the brain is intact and functioning fine. It’s important to remember that there’s a normal mind behind those symptoms and people with Parkinson's just want to be treated normally.