Current research is showing that by using vigorous exercise you can potentially slow the progression of your Parkinson’s disease. Medical intervention at present can only help with alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
It has long been known that exercises is important for health, it lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, helps mood and sleep and is now even shown to improve memory.
However often when we get diagnosed with a Neurological condition we tend to neglect our other systems and often, we start to become inactive and inactivity can be just as damaging as your diagnosed neurological condition. It is important that you are prioritising exercises as it is just as important as taking your medication for your health now and in the future. Anyone can exercise anywhere anyhow.
So how can exercise help with Parkinson’s
Neuroprotection: Research is now showing that vigorous exercise may have a neuro protective effect on our brain. When we exercise vigorously enough to increase our breathing and get slightly out of breath, our body releases hormones into the blood stream and brain. This increases the synaptic activity within our brain. It has now been shown that exercise keeps the active pathways in your brain active. We are aiming in Parkinson’s to keep the dopamine pathways that are still working active.
Neuroplasticity: Another key way exercise is neuroprotective is by promoting neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to rewire. When we move our body in different ways i.e. like a new warm up sequence or learning to dance we create new neural pathways (neuroplasticity) which further increases the activity within the brain.
Neurorestorative: We know in PD that the brain cells that produce dopamine are damaged and lost. By the time we see motor symptoms in people with Parkinson’s up to a 70 percent loss of dopamine has occurred. During this lag time, the brain is actually changing and compensating for the loss of dopamine neurons, this process is called neurodegeneration. Not only are we losing the
neurons that produce dopamine but the receptors that respond to dopamine are shutting down as well.
Exercise can help reactivate and preserve receding or dormant dopamine receptor pathways, which in turn leads also to better use of dopamine been generated by the brain and better uptake of your dopamine medication.
Exercise will help the future, by keeping the brain active and strong you are helping to improve your quality of life, Parkinson’s does not shorten your life but immobility does its time to start living and using exercise as medicine.
It is not only important that we exercise but it is important how we exercise, there are seven key principals for using exercise to get the most benefit specifically for your Parkinson’s. It is important that you understand these. We are here to give you the tools so you can use them.
Seven Principles of exercise for Parkinson’s disease,
- Amplitude (Big Movements)
- High effort (Vigorous)
- Powerful Movements
- Challenging – Dual Tasking
Owner/operator and Senior Physiotherapist of Hibiscus Neuro Rehab.