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    • #17767
      Toni Shapiro

      Hi,  I struggle with balance issues and I am looking to find ways to exercise that will work for me. I have had to drop out of classes because I need support.  I am a danger to myself and to anyone next to me, in front of me, or behind me LOL.  I want to continue to exercise but I need to hold on to something.  Aside from the treadmill my physio therapist suggested I get a mini exercise bike.  One that is just peddles that you put on the floor in front of your chair.  Cycle while you watch TV! I think it’s a great idea but thought I would see if anyone has experience with this and ask how it is working for them. Thank you.

    • #17771
      Russell Wilson

      Hi Toni,

      thanks for the post.

      I see one problem immediately, the way you’ve described the intended exercise. Mind you, if your physical therapist knows his stuff so far as exercise for those with PD goes he’s probably already told you this. It’s possible to just “go for a stroll” or “go for a cruise” on a bike as easily as while out for a walk. Intensity is VERY important while exercising if you’ve got PD. This is a problem I’m currently trying to deal with myself. My balance and slowness of movement is becoming an increasing problem for me. Whereas last year I was able to walk easily at different paces, including short spurts of jogging, I can no longer do that — falling over my own feet if I try to jog.

      Nevertheless, research has shown that a style of exercise called “high intensity interval training” (HIIT) is especially efficacious for those with PD — do a Google Scholar search with “parkinson’s disease bicycle “high intensity interval training”” as search terms. I can’t imagine it being possible to have one’s attention diverted by interest in a TV program while concentrating on HIIT.

      You might also look at something with a broader effect on the body — some forms of resistance exercise, say. Last year (a group of us work out at the local university physio department and we’re just returning from our “Christmas break”) I used to particularly enjoy using the Rowing machine — seated, low impact, exercise, with effect on a broad range of muscles, as well as cardiovascular training.

      Wishing you healthy success.

    • #17779
      Mary Beth Skylis


      I’ve heard about different online fitness courses being available for Parkinson’s too. I haven’t much investigated them, but that could offer a decent option if you don’t feel comfortable going to classes. Or finding a PD specific class near you could be good too. My Dad goes to Rock Steady and they all kinds have a mutual understanding about how their classes should go. And I’ve seen them even target things like balance before.

    • #17806
      Frances Lo

      I have balance issues so I use a rollator – all the time, including at PT, at Tai Chi, and at Rock Steady.  You can get seriously hurt by falling, and you could hurt somebody else.  I used a cane for a long time but it wasn’t enough.  The PT has given me some great exercises that improve my balance and core strength, so I can catch myself more often, but these exercises just aren’t enough either.

      At Rock Steady, my balance has been too compromised to box safely standing up, so I sit down in front of a bag when we move beyond warmup and stretching (where I use my rollator).  You can still get a good workout, even sitting; coaches know how to modify exercises.

      If you haven’t seen a rollator – 4 wheels, brakes, a seat.  The mini-exercise bikes I have tried have not worked well, but there are many cardio routines for people in a chair.


    • #17821
      Phil Gattis

      Like Russell, I believe in HIIT. Prior to diagnosis, I did it for years on a stationary bike. Coupled with a Fast 5/2 diet, I dropped over twenty pounds and kept it off. I recently got a GymBoss interval timer, which I feel is a very worthwhile investment of ~$30.

    • #17838
      Mary Beth Skylis


      I think it’s really cool that you’re adapting at Rock Steady. My Dad boxes there as well, and I know he finds alot of companionship and relief within the community.

    • #17843
      Mike P

      I have been a cardio junkie for years but foot dystonia has put a cramp in my running game. I considered peloton but didn’t want to invest that kind of cash until I could confirm that the foot dystonia that I experience while running would not be triggered by the exercise bike. I watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to roll your own Peloton bike. If you already have an iPad and an Apple watch, you can be up and running on the Peloton app with a stationary spin bike and cadence sensor for about $325 via Amazon. Unfortunately for me, my foot dystonia was still a problem. But, my wife loves the setup and uses it daily.

      As others have stated, the exercise benefits require really pushing yourself beyond your comfort levels (under a doctor’s supervision obviously). It takes a very long time to appreciate cardio. I never thought I’d become a runner when I started. I was a total couch potato. I hated it the first, tenth, and fiftieth times. After about 6 months I began to look forward to the runs.

      I can’t run as much anymore due to the foot dystonia so I do those crazy beach body videos, yoga, stretching, sparring, etc. I’m also looking into RSB given everyone’s recommendations. I’d recommend everyone do whatever you can to stay as active as you can with your doctor’s supervision. Keep at it one day at a time. If you miss a day don’t beat yourself up about it. Get back at it the next day.

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