Parkinson's Movement

Does yard work or houshold chores have any value as "excercise"?

Everyone seems to agree that regular strenuous excercise is our best defense against the symptoms of PD, but is a brisk 30 minute walk more beneficial than 6 hours of painting or tending roses? I have noticed that "second gear" is still available when walking or biking but, with household chores, bradykinesia soon brings on the Parkinson's shuffle. Despite that, I find that, at the end of the day, muscles throughout my body are honestly tired from working through a full range of motion, my mind feels a sense of accomplishment without that twinge of guilt because the lawn isn't mowed.*

Please excuse the rambling, it started out as a simple question. I'm sure my cardiologist would not approve.

* P.S. Must apologise also for being so insensitive as to mention, (from Southern California), that, in the middle of February, some of us play all day in the yard.

I know!!!! Nobody likes a smart ///aleck!

15 Replies

Good question! I've always wondered why we can't just do our chores for exercise. :)


It is a matter of attitude Just keep on movin movin


As a certified personal trainer, my answer to this question would be yes~and no.

The fact that you are staying physically active and accomplishing something positive is huge and it is great exercise for you...on the other hand~

The body has a clever way of using the stronger muscles to compensate for the weaker ones. It will work to avoid using the muscles that are rigid, uncomfortable or inflexible. This means that as you go about your chores, you are shuffling and using the range of motion which causes you least discomfort....

On the days you are not spending hours basking in the California sun. gardening and painting, it will help keep your body balanced and mobile by doing range of motion stretching and gentle strengthening exercises.

The walks,in which you practice striding out,are still important.

If you allow your muscles only to work within the range that is comfortable. you will eventually find you will lose the ability to lengthen and stretch them.

Taking off my "Trainer" hat, I feel that anything that keeps you active physically and mentally and gives you a sense of accomplishment is a good thing.So when you are done with your yard, I have some very sad looking roses that could use some love :-)


I would love to know some good stretching exercises for the shoulders, calfs and hips. Can you recommend any books that would help me out? Thanks!


My husband's Cleveland Clinic neurologist suggested that he purchase

'Delay the Disease -Exercise and Parkinson's Disease'

The book and a DVD are available on

My husband is in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease. We purchased both the book & DVD & found that the information is duplicated. If we had it to do over again, we would only purchase the book.

I am new to this site & don't know if any trainers or PT's answer questions.

Here's the Delay the Disease description:

David Zid, an ACE, APG certified trainer, has collaborated with orthopedic surgeon, Thomas H. Mallory, M.D., who is afflicted with Parkinson's disease, in the development of a Parkinson's specific fitness program designed to proactively minimize tremors and improve flexibility, stability, balance and strength. Delay the Disease contains colorful photographs of Zid demonstrating each move, as well as recommendations for exercise frequency, modification and how to adjust the workout as one improves. Parkinson's patients participating in Zid's fitness program notice improvement in walking, dressing and maintaining balance. Exercises are divided into categories (wake up call, walking and balance, cardiovascular, strength, facial and vocal, and night-time stretching.


So, you feel that the book does an adequate job of describing "how to do each exercise" than the DVD? If so, I'll get the book.


Yes, the book does an adequate job of explaining & using photos to show the exercises. However, it depends on what you like.

You will be able to follow along with the DVD. I've read that some like the DVD because the exercises are done outside. In my opinion, you don't need to purchase both though.

You can read a few reviews on Amazon's site:

There is a Delay the Disease website that you can check out:

Also, I might as well mention some information we learned at Cleveland Clinic. I'll try to make this short. One of their scientists (I think) took a friend with PD on a tandem bike ride. When they were finished the friend noticed that she didn't have the shaking tremors, & this lasted for a few hours (if I remember correctly). Cleveland Clinic, as well as other places, began studying this. My husband's neurologist suggested that he ride a stationary bike, using 0 resistance, and pedal 80-90 times/cycles rpm's a minute for 15 minutes, 6 days a week. My husband's tremors aren't too bad yet. Sometimes this helps him, sometimes it doesn't.

Here's some info on this study:


Great information!! Thanks for your response


You're welcome!


Thank you for that information. I now better understand why I need to "keep moving" and exercise. :)


If I am more exhausted from my housework on Saturday than I am from 8 hours at work and a 60 min daily workout M-F than I guess the answer is yes.

Since on Sunday....."you are nearer God's heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth" (some poem I can only remember part of) I do yard work. Pulling weeds and putting in half my summer garden this morning has me whipped already. But SoCal gets rain Tuesday and the tomatoes are gonna love it. So will the squash and peppers.


The garden sounds wonderful. We live in AZ with rock and dirt. Hmmmm, home grown tomatoes. YUM!!


i have a huge yard, it takes a long time to do my yard work, its pretty physical i feel its great exercise! mowing is great workout and i can hang onto the mower for balance and weed eating to is good for my upper strength and i love being outside..


Well I think that any activity is better than none. Besides having PD I have had several major back surgeries and I am very limited when it comes to exercise. I do get out and work in my Garden. I run a tiller and plant my Garden every Spring and Fall. I keep a lawn chair near my Garden. I work for a few minutes and then sit a few. When I plant I crawl on the ground because I can't bend over very well. I will be planting next week and I am all excited. When you are so limited as many of us are, I say do what you enjoy. When not working in my Garden I am restoring a 1985 Jeep Cj 7 that I plan on giving to my Grandson in a couple of years when he turns 16. Everything I do takes careful thought and compromise on technique. When working on the Jeep I do get my sweet wife to help with things I just can't do. I spent 30 minutes the other day trying to get a 9/16 " bolt started. I shake to much for things like that. :) I say if you can do something you like go for it. GOD BLESS ALL MY FRIENDS OUT THERE


In all probability there is no ultimate formula for everyone... every case presents differently plus we all have other "issues."

Key principles are:

If you don't move you don't move

If exercise is perceived as punishment it will fail

There will never be a passive treatment to accomplish the effects of exercise

We need to keep trying to find activities that we enjoy to maintain the best quality of life.


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