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    • #19008
      Mary Beth Skylis
      Moderator

      While exercise is shown to have positive impacts on everybody, exercise types are not created equal. Cardiovascular exercises, for instance, target different parts of the body than strength training. When it comes to Parkinson’s, I wonder if there are some exercises that would be particularly beneficial to patients. In your own experience, what is the most effective exercise routine for PD? Do you find that certain styles of exercise help more than others?

    • #19260
      Jeffery Hill
      Participant

      Based on what I’ve read and experienced the routine should have at least 3 components:

      1. High intensity cardio.  My favourite form is a 60 minute spin class.  My heart rate is around 120-160 bpm for most of the class.  3 classes per week.

      2.  Resistance (weight lifting)

      3.  Stretching.  I do yoga and aqua fit.

      I was doing all of this indoors at my YMCA until COVID 19 hit.  I dare not go back inside until the pandemic is over.  Meanwhile I’m trying to improvise…

      • #23010
        Paul Baxt
        Participant

        I have an orthopedic surgeon who has stage one Parkinson’s moving onto stage two shortly I am currently enrolled in a unique therapy program at the Cleveland clinic in Florida

        The short name is it is the Berlin program I think you should look it up on Google it has been very effective does not involve weights it doesn’t involve anything that in all my years in orthopedic surgery Iverson considered to be physical therapy but in the short term it is helping me and if you read the long term papers on results they are very positive

    • #19276
      Michael R. Scott
      Participant

      Dear Mary Beth,

      15 min stretches and core training

      30 min weight training (nose to toes)

      15-30 minutes on a computerized exercise bike on random and 10

      Been doing  for over 50 years since SF days and it really helps!… 🙂

    • #19292
      Scott Corbridge
      Participant

      I agree that three spinning classes per week is excellent for cardio and Parkinson’s. In addition I attend three boxing for Parkinson’s classes per week. I have not seen anyone show decline particularly in the Parkinson’s boxing class.

    • #19310
      Mary Beth Skylis
      Moderator

      Thank you for sharing, everyone!

      I know that my Dad starts the day with a stretching routine. And he likes to ride his bike or mow the lawn in the afternoons. I’ve read that high-intensity activities help alot. Has it been difficult to stay in a routine since Covid hit?

    • #19325
      David Blacker
      Participant

      I think exercise programs need to be individualised, but key elements include;

      1. Cardiovascular- probably including a high intensity component.

      2. Strength and resistance; with some weights

      3. Targeted specific movements to counter the key deficits; ie slow, limited range of arm and leg movements – to me boxing is the most logical exercise (and great fun!)

      4. Stretching; to help overcome increased tone from PD, and muscle soreness from exercise- yin yoga is great.

      I am currently developing a non-contact boxing exercise program in conjunction with a professional boxing coach, a neurophysiotherapist and exercise scientists, aiming to gather data on some of the important questions about dosage of exercise, timing, intensity, side effects and benefits. Whilst boxing feels great for PD, there is not a lot of good quality scientific data – our goal is  to build this data to create a safe, enjoyable and beneficial program.

      Watch out for the results next year of FIGHT-PD; Feasibility of Instituting Graduated High Intensity training for PD.

      David Blacker- Neurologist with PD

      Perth, Western Australia

       

       

    • #19329
      Joel
      Participant

      “Forced exercise” is when the body is guided through the relevant movements, like being on the back seat of a tandem bicycle. Here is a study suggesting that it provides a particular benefit for PD patients: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/751998 (must register for free with Medscape to read it). If you’d rather watch a 29-min video, this one is good: https://davisphinneyfoundation.org/the-effects-of-forced-exercise-on-parkinsons-motor-and-non-motor-symptoms/

      We bought an inexpensive mechanically-assisted pedal machine (i.e., turn it on, the pedals turn by themselves, the patient pushes along with the motor) for uncle (late stage PD) a couple of years ago, and it has pulled him out of approaching off periods many times, though like other interventions it does not bat 1.000.

      My guess—and that’s all it is—is that the mechanical guidance has a sort of reteaching effect on the neural pathways governing the movement. I’d further guess that it is more beneficial for those at later stages of PD, when the ability to initiate movement fades, and that more challenging exercise might be preferable at earlier stages.

    • #19350
      Phil Gattis
      Participant

      Mine is similar to others’, especially David Blacker:

      3 times/week mixing up:

      • 20 min HIIT [high intensity interval training] cardio
      • 15 min resistance: sit-ups, push-ups, therapy band
      • 20 min power moves PWR!Moves
      • 10 min stretches

      Then I try to do a 4th time each week boxing with a heavy and a speed bag.  I’m really not good at the speed bag.

    • #19352
      Michael R. Scott
      Participant

      Phil,

      Would you mind sharing your age and how long ago you where diagnosed with PD?

      Also, do you have any idea what caused or could have caused your PD?

      Mike

       

    • #19362
      donboop
      Participant

      for PD patients is important to have their own routine, if they know what  are they doing they do not get confused and that gives them comfort zone and calm mind,  no mood swings. So whatever a particular order of exercises  they find comfortable to do I think it is ok.  My personal opinion to trigger dopamine release and pump the blood moderate cardio is most beneficial so if morning starts with cardio it keeps them motivated to do then  stretching and other less stressful activities

      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by donboop.
    • #19364
      Jo S.
      Participant

      I’ve tried a variety of exercise routines. I was doing a form of aerobic yoga prior to my diagnosis, along with jumping/bouncing on a rebounder (mini trampoline) and walking. I later tried Rock Steady boxing, which I enjoyed, but then Covid-19 came along and the virtual boxing classes just didn’t do it for me. So I switched over to a couple of Alexander Tressor’s (pdonthemove.com) workouts on YouTube (which I highly recommend), still keeping up with daily walks and the rebounder (using light weights). But, last week, I was up for a change, and wouldn’t you know it … I went back to my original aerobic yoga (along with walking and the rebounder with weights). So I guess the moral of my individual story is … the most effective exercise routine for PD is the one you like and will stick with (or go back to).

      • #22580
        Alan M
        Participant

        THANKS HEAPS for the You tube workout vid tip, Jo! I plan to check it out…

    • #19376
      Phil Gattis
      Participant

      Mike Scott:

      I just had my 70th birthday last Sunday.  15 months diagnosed.  I exercised regularly for years, long before diagnosis.  Since diagnosis, it’s become much more important for me.

      Phil Gattis

    • #19377
      Phil Gattis
      Participant

      Mike Scott:

      As to causes, there are 2 contenders.  PD is presumptive for the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune water pollution scandal, for which I’m perfectly qualified.  Also, since that exposure, I sprayed many types of paint and coatings with bad organic solvents, for which I didn’t use sufficient protection.  Camp Lejeune started PD, and the other chemicals moved it right along.

      Phil

    • #19378
      Michael R. Scott
      Participant

      Phil

      Thanks! Part of my probable cause goes back to my Military Days also! US Army Airborne (Special Forces: 1963-1973 Active & NG). If you knew any “Recon. Marines”, we all eventually ended up getting concussions mostly from those night jumps!? Then a number of hazmat exposures both Military and Civilian as I became a Firefighter/Paramedic while going to College! I’m 74 and, like you, have followed a 3 times a week gym routine from 16-now (Had to get strong enough to pass the Airborne and SF qualification tests in advance of Induction to be assured posting back then)! Interesting how many of us (Marines, SF, Rangers, Seals and Recon. ), tried to stay “close to that line in the sand” from the day they discharged us through the rest of our lives! Luckily that level physical fitness has slowed our decline relative to the rest of the PD population as per a recent Federal Study!

      Mike

       

    • #19402
      Andrew L.
      Participant

      OK will chime in…Bike 20 miles 3x per week on lifecycle. Takes me about 75 minutes and I do cognitive exercises at same time (when indoors obviously) utilizing ALZ life program on I pad (my own clinical trial, so to speak). Have gotten really good at Sudoku , haha.  Take the cycling outdoors with the sunrise on the weekends (afraid of COVID and traffic other times.)Was biking every day at high resistance indoors for awhile but pain in hips too much, so had to lower resistance.  Do 100 pushups/ day 5 days per week. Just started ab workouts every day for 10 min with you tube video popular with my kids (Chloe someone). Do PD warrior work outs (also out of Australia) about 45 min 2-3x per week  (mostly big moves, agility and balancing stuff with a little cognitive thrown in). Box 3 or more times per week for about 45-60 minutes a shot. Have a great Rock steady instructor, classes are virtual if anyone interested. Lift free weights a few times per week (nothing major) and do a gentle yoga program for 30 min about 4x per week usually at night. Prior to COVID was playing tennis (played most of my life) and pickleball, hope disease stays relatively stable so can return to it one day (hope/praying/working hard to keep balance  stable). My neurologist thought I was overdoing it and told me to cut back to (2) one hour  exercise sessions twice a day, but probably do closer to 3 hours per day on average.

    • #19425
      Luke Barrett
      Participant

      I totally agree with these previous posts- the 3 major components that need to be emphasized in a workout routine should be..

      1) Strength – Getting stronger helps improve posture, balance, prevents many injuries (increases tissue tolerance levels, improves joint stability, helps absorb higher forces, increases bone density, etc), and strength training also actively trains the central nervous system by improving neuromuscular efficiency which is imperative when fighting a neuromuscular disorder like PD.

      2) Cardiovascular/respiratory or endurance – This improves heart health and respiratory function, as well as increases the amount of physical output you can do before you fatigue.  This training also burns many calories which can help with burning fat or weight maintenance/loss.

      3) Mobility (‘usable flexibility’) – This is improving your active (or usable) range of motion around each joint.  This will help you move more efficiently and help avoid injuries.

      I run boxing classes in NYC (now virtual classes) for PD and boxing has been great at covering most of these modes of training.  We also do other exercises in classes for what boxing may lack (such as strength or posture).

      I started making some youtube videos for the PD community once covid hit for people struggling to find workout options while avoiding public places.  Anyone is welcome to follow these videos for free.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u32zVvkqcSY&t=98s

      I also started teaching live Parkinson’s exercise/boxing classes virtually for the same reasons.  Anyone is always welcome to join us…

      Stay active, strong,  and healthy.

    • #22552
      cass
      Participant

      I was doing great before covid – Y gym membership.  Now I’m such an under-achiever, especially compared to you folks!!  Reading these regimens might just shame me into getting my act together.

    • #22564
      Charles H Levin
      Participant

      I agree with most of these posts …

      Cardio … 4x a week … I use an elliptical and go 30 continuous minutes at 80-85 percent of my max heart rate … I monitor it with an Apple Watch … my doc (head of dept. at Cedars in LA) stressed this and hitting those numbers …

      Strength … 3x a week about 30 minutes … combination of TRX and dumbbells

      Flexibility … Yoga, 20-30 minutes every day …

      I also do Neuro-boxing 3x a week … developed by Jennifer Parkinson, a nurse who got hit with early onset at roughly 32 … she studied the Rock Steady program and developed her own that can be tailored to people with stroke, TBIs or MS or other neurodegenerative disorders … I believe U. of Indiana Med School has compiled a lot of good and supportive data on Rock Steady …

      Dancing … my girlfriend is a longtime pro dancer and we do salsa lessons intermittently … lots of studies showing the benefits for PD of these kinds of movement studies (dance, tai chi, etc.) …

       

      • #22579
        Alan M
        Participant

        Wow, sounds like you’ve got this fitness / exercise regimen suss’ed, Charles!

        I could take a huge lesson from your diary. Alan

      • #23008
        Andy Fletcher
        Participant

        Charles: As I do Rock Steady I would love to hear how Jennifer Parkinson modified the Rock Steady program for her own needs.

        Andy Fletcher

      • #23018
        Ally
        Keymaster

        Hi Charles, your level of physical activity is amazing and certainly motivating to read about. I’m also interested in learning more about neuro boxing. Thanks for mentioning it.

    • #22574
      Ron MacKenzie
      Participant

      I stretch with my TRX apparatus, and then walk/run for about half an hour. I alternate the walk/run every 50/100 meters, using telephone poles as my guide. Then it’s coffee time.

      • #22578
        Alan M
        Participant

        Geez, do I feel like I don’t have a clue [after reading many of the responses]. I think I resonate with my namesake Ron, mostly. Since learning I have PD, I purchased a treadmill [several months ago]. And I walk up/down stairs every day.

        I’m wondering if age at diagnosis makes any difference as to what people find most beneficial? I used to be a Forester in Canada. I regularly sprinted up 120% – 150% slopes daily. Cardiov speaking, I was once a specimen of fitness (in my late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s). I frequented the gym three times a week back then. Sadly, my knees and lower back gave out (due to wearing caulk boots for so many years). Three knee surgeries later and my health declined drastically! I didn’t listen to my Physio either… my bad.

        My training and career since then has me “flying a mahogany bomber”. Since holding down a desk job and sitting in a therapist chair, my health has gone to pot. Now, when I need to exercise most, and physical / mental health depends on it, I find I’m quite unmotivated. What to do?

        • #22585
          Jeffery Hill
          Participant

          Hi Alan,

          If you don’t already have one, consider getting a dog.  I mean a really active dog.  I got an Australian Shepherd.  She demands at least 3 hours of work a day. I’m averaging 13,000 steps a day.  Just need to supplement with some high intensity cardio, weights and stretching.

    • #22587
      Alan M
      Participant

      Awesome idea, Jeffrey. I rent a house in New Plymouth and finding rentals that allow pets (particularly dogs) is a big bummer!

    • #22613
      Clive Varejes
      Participant

      I do weight training at gym 2-3 times a week, specifically depending on how lazy I am.

      Cycle twice a week, as I live in Cape Town across the road from the beach and promenade, it makes it a pleasant and easy going ride. No competitions or anything like that.

      I have also taken up golf, and am really too bad at it to curse when I play a bad shot, which happens fairly often.

      B-)

       

      • #23017
        Ally
        Keymaster

        Hi Clive, fellow golfer here 🙂 though I’m also not great and rarely keep score after the first few holes. I just enjoy the time outside. Cape Town sounds like a lovely place for a bike ride.

    • #22628
      Louis Comitini
      Participant

      Love to see all the exercise programs and responses.  I was diagnosed over 3 years ago at 55 years old in  2018, no tremors but difficulty walking at times during the day and wat too much anxiety, and worse in the morning and so I’m guessing these are my off periods.  I try to jog 3 to 4 times a week (3 to 5 Kms per jog ( aprox–2 to 3 miles)  during the spring summer and fall, winter rarely as you can imagine the snow up here in Montreal, Canada is brutal at times :-).  I made a make shift gym in my garage.

      Trainer twice a week 1 1/2 hours basically stretching, balance exercises, cardio, coordination drills and the best is Boxing for a half hour, after that I’m exhausted for a few hours, but I feel great afterwards for the rest of the day!

      Trying to do as much as I can as I still work at the office 4 to 5  hours a day!

      Love to hear from you all, were all in this together!

      Wouldn’t it be nice if they could find something other than exercise to help slow and or stop this annoyance of PD?

      Best of health and happiness to all of you

      Louis Comitini

       

      Spin bike 3 times a week for 15 to 20 minutes.  Treadmill 2 to 3 times a week both for 15 to 20 minutes.  Crappy disease at times but we all have to try to stay positive! 🙂

       

      Trainer twice a week, he’s absolutely fantastic

    • #23003
      Andy Fletcher
      Participant

      Hi: I am a brand new member here. Everyone has varied exercise routines which shows we have many options. I started Rock Steady Boxing in May 2019. This programs includes several rounds of boxing with a heavy bag, circuit training, core and warmup, cooldown. We get cardio and strength training in this workout. It is also supposed to help with reconnecting the brain to different parts of the body. The goal always is to slow the progression of PD.

      I also work out with a personal trainer twice per week and this incorporates mostly strength training. In summer when outside more I add walking and cycling to the overall weekly goal.

      Andy Fletcher

    • #23007
      Margie Baas
      Participant

      I love the treadmill at the gym and the weight machines.

      I ride a recumbent bike at home and walk outside when weather permits.  I use walking poles. The workout is much more strenuous  with the poles. The poles are pretty cheap on Amazon.

      I also do some excerices found on line.

      I have only known  that i  have PD about 3 months ago. I was doing almost the same routine before i found out.

      The only exciser info i got from my doctor was ride a bike.

      So many of the exceries i want to do are limited due to other health issues.

    • #23011
      Judith
      Participant

      Great posts everyone   Note to Jeffrey Hill…I am awe of your cardio program– most impressed. I went back to the YMCA after covid and was shocked that my safe maximun heart rate did a nose dive so much so that I had to stop at 90 bpm after 4 minute workouts.   Six months later I can go comfortably at about 100 bpm for 30 minutes on the bike.   I am elderly with advanced Parkinsons and have many off periods.  My question is, ‘Should I quit while I am ahead”.  heart appears to be in great shape, neurologist said just do what you can.              Is it dangerous sometime to just push too far….I do 10 hours a week at the Y.  Thanks in advance for any advice.  Happy New Year to all!  Judy G

      • #23014
        Ally
        Keymaster

        Thanks for sharing, Judith. Reading your post was really energizing for me! I’m happy to hear you spend 10 hours/week at the gym and haven’t let a COVID hiatus slow you down. What are some of your favorite ways to get active?

    • #23023
      Leslie
      Participant

      <p style=”text-align: left;”>I was diagnosed in 2007 at the age of 50 by a neurologist. Exercise was not mentioned to me. I had tried different exercise program just to try to stay healthy. I was very inconsistent because after a day of teaching  moderately to profoundly mentally & physically disabled children I was physically & emotionally exhausted & had brain fog. From 2007-2013 I had a multitude of health issues & life events that interfered with my exercising program. All that to say I was extremely behind in exercising. We did buy an expensive motorized stationary recumbent bike that was developed but 2 avid cyclists . One of which began having trouble staying with te group due to PD. So he & his buddy bought a bicycle for 2. Before they went on their ride his PD symptoms were  pretty bad, but after the ride they were hardly noticeable. Even though though there were time that his buddy was doing all the work. This prompted them to do a study which they concluded that forced exercise is beneficial. I tried multiple time to be consistent but between 2 knee replacements & back problems, I just couldn’t make it happen.I’m the last 2 yrs I’ve tried to attend  PD sitting exercise class, but again due to other health issues have not been consistent. I never give up. I go when I can& do what i can.</p>
      Stretching with my husband’s help every morning has done wonders for the frequency & pain of contractures.

    • #23054
      Debbie Lucchesi
      Participant

      I am a personal trainer and have had PD for 8 years .  I have done extensive research and for myself and some of my clients that have the disease , spin classes and strength training have been extremely beneficial in minimizing some of the symptoms. My balance is great because my core and legs are strong . I teach spin classes and the cardio for that has also helped . I have been active longer than the initial diagnosis so I think I definitely was ahead of the game. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions

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