Exercise May Be Real Medicine

Exercise May Be Real Medicine for Parkinson's Disease

For early stage patients, Okun said that "if you had to go to one-size-fits-all, overall the most useful, safest and most bang for your buck is a recumbent cycle." On a recumbent bicycle, you sit lower to the ground with your legs out in front of you. As little as 10 minutes at a time is beneficial, he said.


9 Replies

  • But if you can cycle for an hour at 80-90 rpm, you will be likely to reduce your symptoms an average of 35% if you cycle 3 hours a week for 8 weeks. Magic! No, but it's neuro-regenerative.

  • It is good t o see more and more conventional research is coming out in favour of the benefits of exercise for PWP's.

    I did wonder if I was imagining it when I said here the other day even after just 10 minutes, the effect is clear. My arms starts to swing again and my stride lengthens. I hope it will counteract the muscle tension which is becoming more frequent and of longer duration with me Does anyone know the reason for recommending a recumbent cycle in particular ?

  • The recumbent bike is recommended for safety reasons. It's nearly impossible to fall off a recumbent bike. However, I find it's also more difficult to maintain 80-90 rpm on a recumbent. I put my road bike on a trainer in the basement for the foul weather months (I live in Seattle), and ride for an hour nearly every day. When I first started with PD and cycling, and I would get cranky or feel sick, my husband would tell me to get on the bike. I would ride for 5-10 minutes and feel like I had plugged a plug into the wall socket. End of weariness and crabbiness. That was when I was 62. I'm now 71 and I spent yesterday helping my husband shovel mulch out of the back of our pickup and spread it in the garden. I'm the one who climbs in and out of the pickup. Although my energy waxes and wanes each day, I can do far more than I ever dreamed thanks to cycling.

  • Nan. You are testimony to exercise as therapy.

    A question: have you ever experienced diminishing returns from exercising for too long?

    While a daily hour of exercise helps my gait, two hours in a row, I find, wipes me out.

    Another question re: shoveling mulch. As much as my garden sorely needs that right now, I can't shovel out a pickup like I could 3 yrs ago, pre-Dx. More than a few minutes of that kind of (literally) heavy lifting would drain me and evaporate any gain I got from that day's exercise. Do you feel that you get that strength strictly from your biking or do you do other exercises for strength?

    Any guidance appreciated.

  • These are excellent questions Modal. I find that when I'm riding outside, I can go for hours, quite literally. When riding across Iowa in the summer or any other scenic place, especially when other people are around, I can ride comfortably for 7-8 hours. That includes stopping for food, walking through packed towns, in other words, mixing it up. If I tried to do that on my (same) bike set up on a trainer inside, my body would complain and I would be lucky to push it to 1.5 hours. However, I can bike on the trainer for an hour, do Dance for PD for 1.5 hours (in the class), go for a hike, ski and/or walk the dog and I'm fine. Note that the things I'm doing in a group or where I'm mixing up the activities, are those I enjoy doing longer. If I go on a long hike though, it wears me out. The climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro set me back for months.

    Re shoveling the mulch. Let's be candid. My back and shoulders are tired for sure this morning! Super hero I'm not, but the job is finished! As my husband says in my video, "Just keep going!"

  • I have a Catrike recumbent trike which I think is the best bang for the buck. It's great fun because you sit low and can take turns on a dime just like a go cart. When going up steep grades and fatigued sets in, its easy to slow down to a crawl or just stop and rest . This is much safer than a bike which requires greater balance in a similar situation. Living in Oregon this time of the year is difficult because of the rain.... I'm saving up for a fairing which is a bit pricey at $700. But I think it's necessary for my physical and mental health!

  • Peleton wifi cycle works best for me. It forces the competitive edge. I have no financial interest but I would encourage you to look at their website. It is a bit pricey. It is a virtual race every day. The key is an increased heart rate with an improved state of mind. We all like to do things that we think up ourselves.

  • I find a combination of treadmill (45 min at a mild combo of 3-4 mph and 3-4 elevation) and rowing on a Concept2 (10 min, max 10 tension) works best for me.

    On off days away from the inhouse fitness center, I "free range" fast walk allowing my strong Golden Retriever to yank me around on a long leash in an open field or walkng the edge of a golf course for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 miles per day.

    These physical pursuits always provide me with an energetic and balanced lift in my gait. They also produce endorphines, which put a smile on my face.

    Hope this helps.


  • How many days should a person workout? I know every person's ability is different, also do you need to join a fitness center?

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