I Discovered a New Parkinson’s Workout, Thanks to a Pesky Little Bug

Getting creative to find exercises that benefit both body and brain

Lori DePorter avatar

by Lori DePorter |

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If you get creative, anything can be a workout — even dealing with bugs.

Mixing things up keeps exercise fresh and fun, and different routines work different muscles. This is especially important for those of us with Parkinson’s disease. For instance, neuroplasticity exercises retrain our brain to form new pathways, and music therapy can be beneficial for both gross and fine motor skills.

My newest workout partner is the spotted lanternfly, which has been invading local lawns and gardens and finally made its way into my front yard. These are not friendly bugs like those featured in the movie “A Bug’s Life.” They destroy trees and other plants, and are quick, elusive, and able to jump. Although it may be a losing battle, if these little invaders find their way into your backyard, take on the formidable opponent.

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I searched the internet and found a simple, nontoxic recipe of vinegar and water to use first. Before our workout began, I used the spray to introduce myself to my partners. If the spray managed to stun them, I hopped from one foot to the other, got up on my toes, and attempted to push them into the ground. I often had to jump out of the way as they jumped to avoid me.

The Bug Workout

My fight against the bugs incorporated many elements of a great workout without much effort or planning:

  • Strength: This entailed pumping the sprayer, holding it in one hand, and spraying the wand with the other.
  • Agility: Hopping from one foot to the other provided cardio as well as agility.
  • Balance: I shifted and stretched from one leg to the other as I spotted the bugs in the grass.
  • Vision: Spotting their camouflaged bodies and the red of their wings as they attempted to avoid my vinegar greeting helped with vision.
  • Cardio and speed: These little jumpers are quick, which helps with bradykinesia, or slowed movement, a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Neuroplasticity: Counting and incorporating left and right or colors helped to form new neural pathways.

If this “debugging your yard” workout isn’t for you, do not fret. Your future may hold other exercises. Simply try to jump near one of these hopping bugs. Add some music and dancing, and put it all together for a body and brain workout all in one.

While my efforts may be too little and too late to save my tree, we all need exercise, especially while living with Parkinson’s. And now I can say I’ve trained with a bug!

Please comment below or visit our forums to share your most unusual workout.

Note: 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


David Gunckel avatar

David Gunckel

Thanks for this inspiring column, Lori. I really enjoyed reading about the wonderful job you’ve done in dealing with challenges you’ve faced. I’m 72 and have been a NASM certified trainer for six years. Retired after 32 years as a public library director. Last year I got a stage 3 prostate diagnosis and am doing great so far. So hearing about someone who attacks the challenge like you do really recharges my batteries more than you know. Thanks so much
David Gunckel
Bisbee, AZ

Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

I am so glad you enjoy my column. As columnists, we try to keep it real and share our experiences. Visit our forums to connect with us and others on a PD journey.


Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

Thank you! It’s always great to meet a fellow warrior and you fit the bill. you have faced many challenges head on! Be proud of how far you have come.



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