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    • #19008
      Mary Beth Skylis

      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

      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…

    • #19276
      Michael R. Scott

      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

      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

      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

      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

      “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: (must register for free with Medscape to read it). If you’d rather watch a 29-min video, this one is good:

      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

      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


      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?



    • #19362

      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 1 year, 1 month ago by donboop.
    • #19364
      Jo S.

      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 ( 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).

    • #19376
      Phil Gattis

      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

      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.


    • #19378
      Michael R. Scott


      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!



    • #19402
      Andrew L.

      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

      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..

      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.

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