12 Types of Exercise Suitable for Parkinson’s Disease Patients


If you have Parkinson’s disease, there are a lot of health benefits that come along with exercise. Staying active can help you sleep, strengthen your muscles and joints, reduce stress and depression, and improve posture, balance, and gait.

But what sort of exercise should you do? The types of exercise you choose will depend, to some degree, on the severity of your Parkinson’s disease and your overall health. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, the exercises should be varied and incorporate changing directions through unplanned movement, cardiovascular exercise, balance, strength training and rhythmical exercises.

MORE: 10 Tips for a ‘Common Sense Approach’ to Life With a Chronic Illness

Unplanned and Random Movement
The exercises listed require the person to change tempo and direction regularly. These will challenge a person mentally as well as physically as they require concentration to perform.

  • Walking, hiking or jogging
  • Racket sports such as badminton, table tennis, squash
  • Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Outdoor cycling
  • Dancing
  • Aerobic classes
  • Marching with swinging arms
  • Swimming in different strokes

Want to learn more about the latest research in Parkinson’s Disease? Ask your questions in our research forum.

Planned and Repeated Movement
These exercises are generally repeated movements that require balance. They can be performed while doing something that challenges a person mentally, such as watching a quiz show or the news, throwing and catching balls, singing, or problem-solving.

  • Cycling on a static bike
  • Weightlifting using light weights
  • Swimming laps in the same stroke
  • Slow walking on a treadmill

MORE: Using Exercise to Help Combat Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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    • George Hostick says:

      I am taking part in a boxing exercise with a group named “Rock Steady Boxing” Along with a number of physical exercises I find this process very rewarding.

      • Mengo Shelley says:

        This is a terrific program. We are so excited there are over 850 affiliates world wide. I am a Certified Rock Steady Boxing Coach in South Brunswick NJ. Keep on fighting🥊

    • Mallesham Madur says:

      I guess u didn’t read the first lines properly. It mentions clearly that repetitive planned alternate movements help.
      Boxing is one type of these exercise.

  1. judith gorman says:

    I have nonmotor pd so I have not only orthostatic hypotension but a dysfunctional gi tract that almost killed me last year when I lost 90 lbs in less than 6 months. I then found out I have a hiatal hernia. When I’m off or the meds are stuck there in the hernia I have spasms’ and pain. I also get dizzy and can have balance issues due to the ibs and the esophageal spasms as well. It is almost impossible to get back to my exercise routine. What do you suggest? I have to be fully on and have an empty stomach which is difficult as I eat just about every hour.

  2. Jill Steffey says:

    I teach Rock Steady Boxing and every fighter I have is improving and they miss it when they can’t come to class. Boxing the right way improves everything.

    • Kathy says:

      I live on the west coast of FL (Tampa area) and there are zero Rock Steady centers that have any classes on nights or weekends for people that can and do still work. Very disappointing. Can’t find support anywhere after 2 years of trying.

  3. Sharyn Hughes says:

    I have asthma so I have to do balancing With singular and daily enhaler.
    Also I take carbo levo during day…….and the released pill at night. Just started so don’t know now this will work……yet! I take meds for depression. I make it a goal to wake up
    Every morning and instead of sitting, l have a list of unstressful…….. Mostly and do what
    I can . Every day is different and Iove to be around people ..esp grand kids and family and
    My. Husband is awesome. I use mostly a cane , cool walker, electric cart and now and then a wheelchair………for really long walks to get to events.

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