Empower Yourself by Making Good Choices

Lori DePorter avatar

by Lori DePorter |

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Medication is more than the regimen of pills we take every day. Exercise, diet, and music are lifestyle choices that are beneficial to people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). We did not choose to have Parkinson’s, but we do have a choice about how we live with and respond to PD.

Making good choices and living well with Parkinson’s is empowering. You are in charge. There can be a day when the couch and ice cream for breakfast are the specials of the day — they just can’t be specials for the entire week.

One frequently asked question is, “What is the best type of exercise?” While research regularly highlights different benefits of different types of exercise, the answer is simple: The best type of exercise for you is one that you love to do and look forward to every day. Try different things. I do a variety of exercises, from coaching Rock Steady Boxing classes to attending ballroom dance lessons with my husband.

Exercising with people who also have PD is an added bonus. Shared diagnoses facilitate camaraderie that becomes an extended family. You show up for class because your brothers and sisters are waiting for you. Everyone may be at different stages in their Parkinson’s journey, but we all share the same hope.

Exercising together provides a support group that meets two or three days a week, rather than once a month. It may be the only support for someone who otherwise may be alone. By doing things together, the unexpected and uncertain Parkinson’s detour can be a little less frightening.

So, where does music factor into the detour? Music can take you in so many different directions, like playing an instrument, singing like a rock star in your car, or dancing. There is evidence that drumming is beneficial, and you don’t even need an instrument — turn your garbage can over and you are ready to go!

Music encourages movement and is fun, especially when dancing. We all know that when we hear the song “YMCA,” all hands are in the air. Dancing is something you can do with someone who is on the Parkinson’s journey beside you or even by yourself. Dance through your house while doing the daily housework like no one is watching!

Little victories happen each day. If you can’t find one, create one by choosing a little extra medicine that has a good beat, makes you sweat, or gives you vitamins. So, go ahead and put on some good music, exercise, and finish with a smoothie made with all those superfoods (yes, even kale). At the end of the day, you can look back and say, “Today, I was in charge, and I won.”


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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Mike avatar


In my opinion, besides taking your medications, the #1 thing that will slow the progression of your parkinson's Disease is joining a gym, then get help designing a "nose to toes" gym routine that covers core strenthening, weight training and cardiovascular. This can be completed in one hour. And go three times a weeek, preferable in the morning. The #2 thing: Do Not quit. Make it as regular as brushing your teeth and do it in the morning. It has helped in slowing my progression and it will probably slow yours also and in the process you get stronger and healthier which is what your body needs to fight this awful disease....


Thank you Mike. Glad to see you are also an advocate for exercise. It's an important tool in the PD toolbox.


Bill Patterson avatar

Bill Patterson

I similarly endorse physical exercise. The brain and body are very connected. I was diagnosed 9 1/2 years ago and started exercising almost immediately. Since high intensity aerobics had been successful in animal-model experiments I began high cadence cycling. I am still doing it. Although my disease has progressed, it had not seemed to have progressed very much. I am tracking my performance on the cycle, and still get high cadence.


Thank you for sharing. Keep pedaling!

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Great article, Lori! Very encouraging and so very true in so many ways! I agree with you about your exercise group being more like a support group. I love my boxing family and it indeed feels like family! -sherri

Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

Thank you!


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