More and more research shows that exercise is important in slowing the progression and decreasing the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Physical therapy along with exercise is crucial in the management of Parkinson’s disease.
Ideally, you want to start Parkinson’s-specific physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy at diagnosis. Then check in with your Parkinson’s physical therapist every six-to-twelve months to keep tabs on the quality of your movements. Consult your therapist sooner if you have a decline or a fall.
Learning to monitor self-movement is not easily done alone. Exercise should be considered a maintenance program between stints of physical therapy boosters. PD exercise professionals are essential team members in your fight against PD.
Physical therapy and exercise for Parkinson’s changes your brain structure and functionality resulting in reduced motor and non-motor symptoms. Common movement symptoms that are eased by exercise including stiffness, freezing, small movements, slowness, impaired posture, weakness, imbalance, falls, and difficulty walking. Exercise also reduces non-movement symptoms of Parkinson’s including anxiety, cognitive problems, depression, sleeplessness, fatigue, and constipation. Furthermore, exercise has implications in modifying the disease process and slowing the progression of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s-specific exercise aids in the process of changing your brain circuitry and results in easier movement. Mounting research continues to support the role of exercise in re-wiring your brain’s neural connections. This is a phenomenon in the brain known as neuroplasticity, and it is achievable at any age. Through these exercise-induced brain changes, you can gain and maintain freedom of movement despite Parkinson’s disease.
Technically, the sooner you start to exercise after diagnosis, the better. Exercising earlier in your diagnosis protects the dopamine neurons that are still there and preserves them. Exercise makes the damaged dopamine circuits work more efficiently. Also, if you exercise sooner than later, your brain produces more dopamine receptors. Simply put, your brain drinks up any available dopamine better and faster thanks to more receptors. All of these benefits result in fewer symptoms.
Not to worry, it’s never too late to start exercising. Later exercisers also significantly benefit, but it takes longer to get results. Therefore, remember to be patient as you embrace this lifestyle change if you start later in your Parkinson’s progression.
Also, the overall brain health of those who start exercise later compared to those who don’t exercise at all is better due to less inflammation, more blood circulation to the brain, and more efficient brain circuitry. Keep in mind that healthier brains are better equipped to combat PD, and exercise promotes a healthy brain at any age.
Parkinson’s exercise classes provide an outlet for sustained movement practice that extends the benefits achieved from physical therapy. Parkinson’s exercise classes are complementary for improving aspects of movement, cognition, mood, motivation, and quality of life. All classes are held in a supportive environment that promotes community engagement, morale, and accountability to keep you on track.
We focus on evaluating and treating inner ear and neurological issues commonly resulting in problems with imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, or vision.
We understand the seriousness of concussions and implement best physical therapy practices to ensure a complete and expedited recovery.
Our approach to Parkinson’s therapy is driven by research and enthusiasm, we strive to get you functioning at your highest level of fitness, activity, and health.
You don’t have to be a physical therapist to be an expert at exercise. All you need are some clear guidelines, a lot of effort, and little creativity. That’s what it takes to stay on top of your PD symptoms, slow the progression of PD, and enjoy a better life. In this guide, you will learn some tricks of the trade about how and why you should be exercising with PD.
“I look forward to my sessions with Valerie. The classes are fun but challenging.”
“When the world around you is in a spin… It’s nice to know that someone’s got your back! Thanks for being that someone!”
“I want to thank Valerie for her patience. She does her job well because she cares for her patients”
“Keep up the great work, Val! I went to you for about two years for chronic vestibular balance and dizziness issues, and now I am so much better and these issues do not hinder my lifestyle. I think your optimism and energy were as important as the vestibular rehab exercises. You were more than just a physical therapist, but a PT/Life Coach! Thanks again for everything!”
“Valerie, you are the best! You put up with my whining and encouraged me every time. I did my homework because you care so much! I’m still balancing -it’s become a natural routine for me-thanks to every there (360 Balance, Austin, TX). I’ll be back if I need fine tuning.”
“Valerie, you are doing great things!!! I wish my dad was your patient. He does not have Parkinson’s, but he has significant balance issues. PT has helped him immensely. I wish that you could evaluate him someday. You are one of the best!!!! I miss working with you!”
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