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Living Well with Parkinson's: Exercise is key

Exercise plays a major role in Parkinson’s as a way to help maintain a person’s balance, mobility, and ability to perform daily activities. Exercise has been linked to a better sense of well-being across the different stages and severity of the disease and can play a major role in two areas, managing symptoms and slowing down the progression of the disease.

 

Parkinson's Disease Exercise is KeyParkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly develops and affects our ability to regulate our body’s movements. With Parkinson’s disease our body stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for allowing us to have smooth and controlled bodily movements. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease and there is currently no cure for it. Doctors however focus some of their treatment on helping to alleviate some of the motor symptoms (physical symptoms) common with Parkinson’s disease. Along with the medication typically prescribed for Parkinson’s, another treatment, exercise can also play a major role in helping someone with Parkinson’s deal with their symptoms.

 

how does exercise help?

Current research has shown that exercise can improve a person with Parkinson’s gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and overall motor coordination. Again while there is no cure for Parkinson’s, exercise can help slow down some of the progression associated with the disease. By exercising, doctors agree that improved mobility from exercise can help decrease the risk for falls and other complications from Parkinson’s. Research also has shown that by exercising, our brains will not increase the amount of dopamine, but will be more efficient at using the dopamine already present which in turn will alleviate some of the motor symptoms present in Parkinson’s.

 

Special fitness classes open to the public

Each week at Westwood Ridge located in West St. Paul, we host a Parkinson’s specific exercise class.

  • This class is held every Wednesday afternoon from 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM.  The class is open to all of those individuals dealing with Parkinson’s and focuses on movements that are crucial for the disease and alleviating some of the motor symptoms.

  • Some of the other key aspects of the class include:

    • The class is appropriate for all stages and severities of the disease.
    • The class offers a variety of seated and standing exercises. Standing exercises use the support of a chair.
    • It is led by a certified exercise professional that has undergone training from the Struthers Parkinson’s Center.
    • The class is FREE!!
    • The class is continuous, so participants are able to join in at any time.

    If you are interested in the Parkinson’s specific exercise class or would like more information regarding the class, contact Jeff Prendergast at 651-259-2479 or feel free to stop in to one of the classes!

 

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