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Exercise and Parkinson's Disease: Enhancing Life Through Movement

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is the second most common neurological condition in Australia, only behind dementia. Interestingly, men are diagnosed with PD 1.5 times more often than women. With over 150,000 Australians grappling with PD, it is clear this condition is a significant player in our healthcare landscape.


Strength training and other exercises for Parkinson's Disease improve function, balance, self esteem, functionality and quality of life. quality
Exercise for Parkinson's Disease

Now, what exactly is Parkinson’s Disease? Well, it is like having a glitch in the brain's movement control system. Think tremors, stiffness, and wobbly balance. While there is no magic cure for PD, the research spotlight is shining brightly on a hero in disguise: EXERCISE.


Let us dive into the science. A team of researchers, led by Tambosco and co. in 2014, did some digging and found that regular exercise, including aerobic exercise, strength training, and even balance exercises, can be superheroes for those with PD. Another group of researchers, led by Schenkman in 2018, found that exercise programs targeting strength, balance, and flexibility improve motor skills and mobility.


But exercise isn't just about flexing those muscles; it's also a brain booster. Xu and team discovered in 2017 that sticking to an exercise routine might just put the brakes on cognitive decline in PD. In addition, Shu in 2014, hinted that exercise might even be enhancing our dopamine levels, potentially slowing down PD's progression.

Furthermore, King and Goodwin (in 2008 and 2014) showed us that focusing on functional tasks in exercise programs significantly enhances daily living skills and self-confidence.

Improving strength, balance and posture are all important exercises for Parkinson's Disease
Exercise for Parkinson's Disease

Let’s zoom into what we now know. Regular, tailored workouts specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease can make the difference between feeling great or not. And the most qualified professionals to set you up with a tailored exercise program for Parkinson’s Disease are Exercise Physiologists (also referred to as EPs).


We are the team who craft personalised exercise plans, fine-tuning them to tackle the nitty-gritty of mobility, balance, strength, and flexibility. Working hand-in-hand with healthcare teams, EP’s are the secret ingredient in the recipe for PD management. Research points to the programs we develop as game-changers, revving up motor function, mobility, and that all-important quality of life for PD warriors.


So, in conclusion, let's make exercise a non-negotiable in the management of Parkinson’s Disease. By lacing up those sneakers and embracing a tailored exercise routine, people with PD can claim back their independence and quality of life with a commitment to exercise.

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