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    • #22689
      Mary Beth Skylis
      Keymaster

      I’ve recently been paying a lot of attention to my energy levels. And I’ve found that, on most days, a gym session or a good workout actually seems to give me more energy. Have you found that going to the gym increases your energy, too? Or does it deplete you?

    • #22908
      Clive Varejes
      Participant

      Hi Mary,

      I go to gym and cycle 4-5 times a week.

      Not only does it give me more energy, but it seems to somehow negate a lot of the symptoms of PD.

      Perhaps that is just the endomorphin, however whatever it is, it does make me feel better.

      • #24048
        Karla Burkhart
        Participant

        Most of the time it energizes me but if I go tired, I am even more tired when finished.

        • #25206
          Mary Beth Skylis
          Keymaster

          Karla, I find that sometimes the type of exercise matters, too. For example, historically I’ve been a runner. But I usually feel really fatigued after even small runs. But strength training and yoga don’t seem to have the same effect. Have you noticed the same trend?

    • #22912
      Barry Block
      Participant

      I work out virtually 5 times a week. It is the most important and effective treatment for PD. I combine aerobics (Zumba), weight training (5 lbs), and yoga/stretching and include balance exercises. I also try to take a mile walk when the weather permits.  I am 73 and my PD has only progressed slightly in 3 years.

      • #25207
        Mary Beth Skylis
        Keymaster

        I’ve been so grateful for virtual workouts. It makes exercise so much more accessible. That’s really amazing that you’ve only seen a minimal progression. Do you attribute it to your exercise routine?

    • #22911
      Louis Comitini
      Participant

      Hi Mary,

      For me working out is now my savior.  When I was diagnosed August 12th  2018  3 1/2 years ago, I rarely exercised at all, a few walks with my wife or a slow bike ride around my village in Hudson, Qc, Canada that’s it.  When the neurologist told me get my vacations in and get your affairs together, I freaked out with the news and asked her is there anything I can do to slow down the process?  She and then my second opinion Neurologist told me there are a few things you can do, eat right and get lots of exercise.

      The next day I started biking 15  to 20 km a day and have not stopped exercising and stretching since.  Now I do a variety of exercises everyday excluding when I had my rotator surgery a couple of years ago.  Not sure if that was the right decision or not but it’s done and I have to go forward.

      As per energy, it’s everything to me, the few days I have taken off I feel so guilty, it drives me bonkers.  I need to exercise so much that I hired a trainer after a few months and he still trains me at least 2 to 3 times a week, as much as I can afford.  We do many different exercises, balance drills  coordination drills, boxing, I hit him not the reverse :-).  On the days he’s not around I made a small gym in my garage where I have a rower, spin bike, a treadmill and some weights and bands.  In the summer time my wife and I walk 5 to 6 Km (aprox 3 miles) a day and we both go on the tread mill in these freezing cold days!  Exercise changes my day/week  completely, if I don’t exercise I feel like crap the rest of the day.

      I also met and follow Alexander Tressor a former professional dancer from Russia (Goggle him he’s unreal) and has been living here for many years he came to North America I believe when he was 16.  He’s inspired me from the first couple of months.  he’s had PD for close to 20 years and is doing fantastic, he is now 63-64? and looks and feels great most of the times.  He is someone I inspire to be like, he stretches and works out  everyday and does not ever miss a day.  Long story short EXERCISE IS A MUST! and YES gives me tons of energy.

      Don’t get me wrong here, There are days I’m sad, feel like why me, feel like crap, anxiety hits, legs don’t want to move the way I’d like them to, serious pain in the morning. Now I don’t drink alcohol or beer anymore, go to bed at 8-9 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. totally changed my diet, very little meat, healthy shakes daily, fruits and veggies all day long! Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Turmeric pro biotitic, magnesium and lot’s of Omega 3.

      That’s my story, please exercise, I GUARATEE YOU… it won’t hurt, but I also guarantee you all it helps!

      Love you all, stay strong and healthy

      Louis Comitini

       

      • #24038
        Mary Beth Skylis
        Keymaster

        Louis,

        I feel that way, too. Working out keeps me in action, and feeling strong. Do you find that cycling is your favorite exercise?

    • #24042
      Beth T Browne
      Participant

      Starting a year after my breast cancer, I signed up at 24 Hour Fitness. Went three days a week, working out 1-1/2 hours with weights and treadmill. Did not miss much during the 20 years I went. I stopped the gym at 74 due to bad osteoarthritis, and then just walked.

      Since my PD diagnosis I have used the treadmill in our workout place, but not faithfully. When management at my 55+ apartment started exercise classes, I joined right away. That was last Oct. I can’t take the LevaDopa stuff, so I was hoping I could get some Dopamine in my brain working out.

      It has been almost 3 yrs now, and I have not progressed very much. However, in April I got Bronchiectasis and was sick most of April, not being able to exercise. Much better this May, but still not 100%. Then I was diagnosed with needing a shoulder replacement due to Osteoarthritis and I could not raise my left arm with hearing bone on bone, so I have not gone back for almost 2 months now. I am feeling tired often, bored, not motivated since I am not exercising. Allergies where I live have caused my lungs to get very sick. But I am happy here and not moving. It is quiet and peaceful.

      Two doctors have said my 20 yrs of working out is still with me today and that is why I am so agile. I can dance, and move without pain, so I am fortunate.

      If you don’t do anything for yourself, start exercising if you are not doing so now. It is far better then any medicine, I believe.

      • #24179
        Mary Beth Skylis
        Keymaster

        Thank you for sharing, Beth. It can be really frustrating to have disruptions like that. I just had surgery on my foot, so I’ve been unable to exercise in the ways that I usually do. But I think that you’re right. Staying fit seems to improve the quality of my life. Do you have a favorite fitness style? I’ve been shifting more to strength training, lately.

    • #24060
      Terry F.
      Participant

      Hi Mary,

      I do strength training twice a week which has helped a tremendous amount with my balance (we do a lot of core work) and overall strength. I also do Rock Steady Boxing, on alternate days, which I would recommend to any fellow Parky to do if available in your area.

      I still work, reduced my weekly schedule from 48/week to 24 – 30/week, in a retail so I get plenty of walking, lifting and stair work.  This ‘program’ has improved my energy, strength and balance levels. It’s restored my ability to come home and do yard work, house maintenance and my art.  I plan to start riding bikes again.

      I’m 71 and three years into my diagnosis.

      • #24180
        Mary Beth Skylis
        Keymaster

        Terry,

        My dad did Rock Steady for a number of years. He loved it. And then Covid closed his location down. But I’m so glad to hear that people are still benefiting from boxing. Do you have a favorite boxing routine? Or do you gravitate towards a specific machine?

    • #25161
      Maya Larson
      Participant

      So due to changes in my domestic situation and a return to work the only way I’ll be able to train is on a treadmill or trainer in the morning before work. I know the trainer is no big deal but is it the same for the treadmill? Can anyone have effective speed workouts when the machine is keeping your pace instead of you? Aside from the boredom what are the issues? I am reading few information here and I know to keep the grade at 1 or higher…and the treadmill I am buying is the Nordictrack 1750…I can run any google maps course in the world and so I can do hills etc…

    • #25164
      David Blacker
      Participant

      I agree 100% with the positive comments about exercise, and the suggestion it “boosts energy levels”.

      Much more needs to be learnt about the science behind using exercise as a therapy for neurological disorders so we can optimize it’s use and possibly harness its benefits for those who cannot exercise ( eg more advanced PD, immobile stroke patients).

      I suspect there is a threshold of exercise intensity which triggers the release of substances such as brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other chemicals that have a favorable impact on the sensitivity of dopamine pathways, enhances release of stem cells and ultimately slows progression of PD, and enhances neuroplasicity in stroke.

      I think high intensity exercise at anaerobic levels is required to do this.
      In the decade or so that I have been using exercise ( and dopamine replacement) to treat my own PD, I have noted that a large volume of moderate exercise ( eg walking a round of golf over 4 hours) can leave me exhausted, whereas 30 minutes of high intensity interval training, like boxing, leaves me energized and glowing.

      I am sure I have slowed progression  of my motor symptoms with exercise, but curiously many of my non- motor problems seem to be getting worse.

      I have conducted a small feasibility study of non- contact boxing training, FIGHT-PD, with 10 participants with early stage PD, average age of 60, completed a 15 week program with 3 60 minute workouts per week. We carefully built them up to a point where  boxing rounds at high intensity as defined by continual heart rate monitoring and exertion scales was performed. 9/10 showed improvement in the UPDRS motor scales and all showed decrease in levels of fatigue and  improvement in sleep. There were no major injuries and 1.1% of workouts were missed due to minor muscles strains. We have presented this at neurology meetings and are submitting to journals at present.

      Many larger studies, and experimental data have demonstrated the benefits of exercise but for the boost of energy, and a few fantastic hours where you might almost feel like you don’t have PD, nothing beats a high intensity training session.

      One day, it might be possible to identify   and extract the precise chemicals released by exercise and then inject thus into people who can’t exercise enough to get to this state ; this has already been done in animal models.

      This field of research is tremendously promising.

      David Blacker
      neurologist with PD

       

    • #25168
      McDonald E Rominger
      Participant

      I am currently 65 and had PD symptoms as far back as age 56. I was not diagnosed ‘officially’ until age 62 but was keenly aware of my symptoms as both my father and maternal grandmother had PD.  I have been an athlete since age 15 and began serious weight training at age 17. I was a career law enforcement officer and during my 26 years with the FBI I was also a Fitness Instructor for the Bureau. A year before mandatory retirement at age 57, I was aware that I had PD symptoms starting with tremors in the right side of my body.  At this time (2013) I was still working out 6 days per week. My workouts consisted of 60 minutes of weight training 3x/week and 60-120 minutes of cardio 6x/week.  Today, at age 65, and 9 years into PD, I continue to do the same 6 workouts per week. I am convinced (as is the neurologist that I see 3x/year) that intense, DAILY, exercise considerably slows the progress of PD. (Note: On the 7th day I take a 60 minute yin yoga class which is devoted to extended stretching poses. While I don’t necessarily consider this ‘intense’ exercise I do believe that it complements the other 6 days of intense exercise). Once a week for part of my cardio regimen I run “stadiums” (24  steps up and down 70 times) for 35 minutes.  I have done these since HS days 45 years ago and they help me with balance, cadence, and moving my right arm which is slowly immobilizing unless I purposely move it.  Additionally, during the summer to assist in balance and intensity I ride a mountain bike at least 1x/week on US Forest Service roads between 7800-8600′ with the first hour of ride a continuous uphill ascent.  During the winter I substitute this outdoor ride with a 2-hour snow shoeing ascent up the mountain between 9500-11,000′ in elevation.  While I cannot snow shoe at the same pace as I could 10 years ago I am still able to make the ascent, albeit slower.  My three 60+ minute weight workouts consist of using dumb bells (up to 50 lbs), and a variety of machines for chest, shoulder, arms, back, abs, and legs. The weights that I use and the repetitions performed remain the same as before I knew I had PD (which is 10 years ago).  The past two summers I have taken cycling trips in Ireland and Italy and have cycled up to 45 miles per day on the tours for 6-7 consecutive days (the duration of the tours). My general philosophy regarding my workouts is, “I did this yesterday, I can do it today.” It’s working well for me.  I am keenly aware, based upon my father and grandmother’s own experience with PD, that the Grim Reaper will eventually arrive … but I am of the equal belief that DAILY exercise; the more intense the better, can both forestall the progression of the disease and add countless days, months, or years of a better quality of life for those of us with PD.  “Someday I’m not going to be able to do this … But today’s not the day.”

    • #25175
      richard cooling
      Participant

      I am 62 and seven years post diagnosis. Two years ago I was an avid cyclist. Now I have trouble walking.

      Exercise is better than my medicines, but one size does not fit all. I’ve tried everything except boxing.

      Presently I do pool aerobics for about 50 minutes six days a week in a heated pool at the YMCA with foam barbells. It gives me energy and makes me feel great!

    • #25178
      HIRO
      Participant

      I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year.The symptoms have been present 4 years ago.I  started cycling this year because I learned that exercise slows progression. My strategy is to cycle 70mile per week with not enough L-dopa. Cycling improved balance and gait.Are you exercising after taking enough L-dopa?

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