The Spirit of Freddy Mercury must have been singing in the ear of Cleveland Clinic biomedical engineer, Jay Alberts, PhD. During Tandem ride across Iowa, Dr. Alberts pedaled the lead position on a tandem bicycle with a woman with Parkinson's disease. Before the ride, the woman was suffering from hand tremors. As the two pedaled throughout the day, she noticed her tremor stopped while she was pedaling on the tandem bicycle. This is encouraging news for those of us who re looking for relief and a delay in progression.
Recent studies have shown that exercise is beneficial for Patients with Parkinson's Disease. A Frontline video highlights a new study using treadmill exercise with monkeys exploring the effects of dopamine in motor function. The study looked at treadmill exercise and its effects on Parkinson's between monkeys with and without exercise. Brain scans showed a marked difference in the dopamine production of the target animals. In the sedentary monkeys dopamine production was impaired while the monkeys who exercised had no impairment.
After watching the video; I convinced myself that my stationary bike has a purpose greater than a clothes line for hand washables. I started with 30 minutes a day moving to 60 minutes. That was a year ago and I still feel better during and after my rides.
Exercise tips from The Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Depending on a person’s stage of Parkinson’s and capabilities, an exercise routine might include activities such walking, running, biking, Pilates or weight training.Alternative exercise, such as yoga, tai chi and qigong also can help improve balance, coordination, flexibility and strength while promoting a positive state of mind.
Once a person establishes an exercise program, it’s important they stick to it and challenge themselves as much as possible. The most significant gains appear in people who exercise regularly with greater intensity.
Experts suggest people with Parkinson’s, particularly young onset or those in early stages, exercise with intensity for about one hour, three to four times per week.
Physical therapists trained to help patients with Parkinson’s disease can assist individuals, particularly those new to exercise or those with more severe symptoms, in developing a safe exercise regimen to fit their needs.
Studies suggest that a person with Parkinson’s receives the most benefits from consistent exercise started in early stages of the disease though a patient’s age or stage of disease should not be a deterrent to exercise.
Experts recommend people see a physical therapist as soon as possible after diagnosis for evaluation and help developing an exercise program to get on the right track toward maintaining their quality of life.
A person might utilize workout tapes, Nintendo Wii or books to help them develop a workout routine at home.
Read “Delay the Disease — Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease,” by David Zid and Jackie Russell (www.delaythedisease.com), helps people develop a Parkinson’s-specific exercise program that can be adjusted to their abilities