The Gym

The Gym

Last time I saw my neurologist he told me that one of the best things to protect myself from The Demon we call Parkinsons is to keep myself fit. Excercise. Go to the gym. I go to the gym twice a week. The place I go to is only $8.50 a month. I get to enjoy a complete work out room. It keeps me active. I also am able to keep myself updated on the latest in hip hop muzak. It's two blocks away. I usually go at 2 PM and it's 2 PM right now.

17 Replies

  • I try to exercise daily. I used to go to the gym regularly before I had Parkinsons, but then when I really needed it, it closed!! I always find I am more motivated when I go with a friend, but as I don't have a friend to go with and there is not another gym nearby, I got an exercise bike. I am trying to build up my stamina, but boy is it boring - even watching TV. However, I am determined to continue. I also use a Wii Fit so I should be fit surely?

  • Exercise continues to be the key in every disease it seems. I know for my husband even the days when his symptoms are the worst. Just walking helps. We have been intrigued with the benefits found in the cycling for Parkinson's and boxing for PD participants programs found at an organization like

    Keep moving. Don't let anyone (especially yourself) say you can't do it.

  • I can't get out on my own so I've just bought a recumbent exercise bike. It's marvellous and I just get on it whenever I like and it doesn't take up too much room!

  • Tell us about your recumbent bike, please.... brand name, where bought, how much, etc?

  • I bought it on E-bay. It's a V-fit BK-11 recumbent magnetic exercise cycle. Price £124.99 (postage free). It comes in a pack so you have to put it together.Came within a day of ordering it. Good Luck!

  • In many research papers they stress that aerobic exercise can improve cardio vascular fitness, wellbeing and some sleep patterns. However, it is just as important to do something physical at the same time as learning new 'moves'. This sort of exercise actually stimulates the brain more effectively than many others. Dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, Nordic walking training, The Alexander technique.. What ever you can't do routinely at the moment.

    In the UK quite a few branch and support groups of Parkinson's UK have been given Nintendo Wii machines to loan to members. If you are a member of a group locally why not find out if they have one? You can stimulate your brain without going ut or resorting to trying to complete a crossword on a running machine.r.

    However, nothing will replace getting out and socialising. (I suppose you could have a Wii fit fest and invite friends over...)

    Sorry to sound like an ad for Parkinson's UK but it has helped John and myself so much since his diagnosis.


  • Well done! You also need gentle stuff qi gong and yoga....i scramble to get up from the floor somtimes but someone will always help! I go on the cycle, rower and weights mainly at the gym..

  • I find the Delay the Disease exercise manual by David Zid very helpful since it is specifially for PD. I do those exercises for about an hour every morning and then I walk for 30 minutes every evening starting 45 minutes after my medication. By evening I don't walk as well as I do in the morning for some reason, so the first 10 -15 minutes is usually more of a slow shuffle but before the end of the 30 minutes I am walking normally. I've never been athletic so I have to really force my self to do my exercises each day but I just know I have no choice.

  • I would like to ditto what soup says about learning something new - very important for the brain - as well as the physical excercises. Am reading a book by Dr. Norman Doidge called The Brain that Changes Itself. Fascinating. My husband I have retired first to Panama and now to Colombia. So, we have been learning Spanish. Quite a challenge but, they all say that learning something new and exercising are the two keys to good health and reversing bad health. The brain can physically change as it adapts to parts of the brain that has stopped functioning. I have stopped believing that parkinson's is a degenerative disease. That bellef does absolutely nothing for me except cause harm and loss of hope. What's bad is that after they make that claim, then they tell you to be positive in your thinking??? I take mucuna and excercise daily, qi gong, and learn something new everyday. I am improving daily.

  • Interestingly enough 2 people who knew I have PD have offered to be my trainer in the past week. Don't know how much they would charge, but I kept their card. The word is getting out! :)

  • Delay the Disease is a great program. Also, LSVT BIG can help. I have the privilege of working out at Rock Steady Boxing , an innovative, non-contact boxing training for PWP developed in Indianapolis. After six years of experience, they are now training trainers to implement similar programs around the country. It has been life-changing for me.

  • Exciting new research offers mounting evidence that exercise plays an essential role in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. (PD)

    Current research about why exercise appears to improve symptomatic progression of PD is compelling. The overriding goal of all people involved in the treatment of Parkinson’s is to make the impact of the disease as insignificant as possible, working constantly for normality in the face of a progressive illness. Despite the dramatic improvements in the treatment of PD over the last two decades, managing syptoms continues to be challenging. Studies are increasingly documenting evidence that exercise routines specifically designed for PD actually recruit new brain regions to perform functions that were lost due to previous nerve cell damage. These exercises appear to increase brain levels of specific, powerful chemicals known as growth factors.

    The prospect that daily exercise may restore ‘normal’ appearance, function and increasing independence fuels the hope of patients and their entire support system.

    One of the most difficult challenges with exercise is how to best motivate and inspire a person with Parkinson’s to stick with a regular exercise program. However, after the initial diagnosis and some very deep soul searching, many patients become very proactive in searching out the best combination of “tools” to fight this disease. Physical Therapy (PT) is recommended as a great place to start in the quest for an appropriate plan of care for exercise. But after insurance coverage is exhausted for the PT visits, what is the next best step?

    Community base PD-specific programs and regular home exercise are the best answers to this question. Symptomatic improvement breeds hope, optimism, and a glimpse at maintaining independence. Fighting this disease with hope definitely encourages a positive attitude. *

    –This is a great boost to the efforts made by the PHD Program and our gifted teachers, who keep us moving in the right direction, one class at a time! Encourage a friend to come to your next session, you could be the hope and motivation they are looking for.

    Try our boxing program,,,,,,

  • I am living proof that exercise will postpone the signs of Parkinson's --- diagnosed more than 16 years ago, I ave continued to work out virtually every day since. Sometimes it may just be good stretching --esp when traveling and I don't have access to equipment. MY normal routine is 25 to 30 minutes of cardio- treadmill, which forces me to walk evenly or fall flat on my face, and recumbent bike. the I do strengthening exercises with bands or yoga such as the Plank. And to look at me - most people would not guess that I have PD. of course , over the years the visible signs are more evident.

    will power and a reluctance to give in and be dependent on others has kept me going.

    For all of you out there - exercise does work and the return is well worth the effort

    Hang in there

  • Thank you all for your input. Onward thru the fog!

  • Joe, I think the real key to exercise is not how to get motivated but how to stay motivated. Witness the slimming clubs and gyms each new year bursting with new recruits, then check in two months later and most of them have quit. Most people fail the motivation test that was nicely put by a great powerlifter called Jon Cole, when he said "What is the greatest test a lifter has to face? .... Time!"

    If you want to stick with anything forcing yourself to do what you hate cannot succeed in the long run - I have worked out hard for almost forty years, and no way can you last that long by forcing it. I LOVE exercise! Each day I hit it I say "another day where I can still do this," so I don't have to force myself, instead I have to make sure I don't do too much. But whereas I have done bodybuilding, powerlifting, martial arts and boxing training I know most people would hate these training routines, so try various things until you find something you enjoy - enjoyment is motivation on autopilot. Running? Golf? Bicycling (very good as well for PD)

    Swimming? etc. If you find something you love doing that's your answer to life-long exercise, and it helps us so much. If I have to go out in the morning my walking, even with a stick, is very poor. Solution? I step into my double-garage gym and do two or three sets of two or three reps with two hundred pounds on deep squats - not much work, easy for me - and my walking greatly improves for several hours afterwards AND my upper body movement and left arm also work better.

    What to do if you are a couch potato who thinks using a remote control is heavy work and cannot stand any exertion at all? I know a few friends like that and admit to not being able to help. As I say to them "Exercise only works if YOU DO!" Joe, you are going to a gym so no worries there, I applaud your efforts, well done mate!

    If you ever want to find out about types of exercises I have done, or countless variations in the way specific exercises can be done, or how to pick the right exercises to reach specific goals just ask.

    One last thing: Tai Chi really does calm the soul and helps the body to keep moving, try it and see!

  • I did a painting today. Does THAT count?

  • Joe, I think painting probably does count. If you enjoyed yourself doing the painting then how can it be bad? Having fun is something that is hard to do for lots of Parky people, and it must look pretty heavy reading all the answers above (including mine) that are so serious - too often all the exercise fanatics like me take life too seriously and expect everyone else to like hard exercise once they try it. Well, it ain't so!

    Doing what you like and feeling good has got to be the thing to aim for in life, doing what someone else likes just does not hit the spot.

    Have fun!

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