Parkinson's Movement
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??I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike??

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 (, helps people develop a Parkinson’s-specific exercise program that can be adjusted to their abilities

4 Replies

Call me crazy! I've had Parkinson's Disease for 22 years and found out long ago that I'm more comfortable and feel more in control when I;m riding a bicycle, than I do when I'm walking! I am thinking about riding my bicycle from Placerville, California to The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California to bring public awareness to Parkinson's Disease!!! The distance is about 150 miles. I would like to know how many more patients are "mad as hell and don;t want to take anymore?"I will need a lot of help with this event! Let's talk about it, least!!-Rickety.


From David Greaves of Pedal for Parkinson's

I am absolutely delighted to observe this outgoing confirmation from so many people that cycling is good for you. I have been passionately promoting this idea for the last four years,riding with a great bunch of people with Parkinson's for over four and a half thousand miles, with Queen's, 'Bicycle' as our theme tune. Rickety, go for it. You will enjoy the personal success of your own achievement, but you will inspire others to do the same.

To all you secret cyclists out there, I invite you to join me next year in a new event, when several simultaneous routes will converge on the North East as part of a large event to be announced. Come and ride with me and many of the 'vetrans' of our earlier rides. Full details to be announced. Drop me a line, expressing your interest. I am not looking for elite riders. We will plan the route to match your ability.


I am from Iowa and hooked up with Jay's group 2 years ago when I was 1st diagnosed with PD. Did not hook up last year but saw them. Those jerseys are hard to miss. Maybe I can get involved this year. Nan was the 1st person of Jay's group I talked to about my PD and she was great. Being a new bee and having someone to chat with was something I needed. I feel the best on a bike but find my energy drying up somewhat from the old days. I have done 2 trips across the US from N. to S. since then and have a burning desire to go across the US from W, to E. before the PD gets to me where I can't. I go solo & unsupported and it's getting harder. If I go I will make PD awareness my thing. Cross your fingers for me.


I just found this website. I'm the Nan referred to above. Since connecting with Dr. Alberts and, I've ridden across Iowa twice with PFP in RAGBRAI and this past summer I joined a group of PD and MS patients who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, 19,430', the hardest thing I've done. ( I was diagnosed in 2008 and climbed Kili at age 65. I was never much of an athlete before PD, but now I'm amazed at my own strength. There is a summary of my experiences on the Davis Phinney website. The difference for me came when I learned Jay's cycling protocol and went at it as hard as I could. Cycle 3/week, 1 hour each time. Keep your heart rate at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate (200-your age) and most important! cycle at 80-90 rpm or faster. I use my road bike on a trainer when the weather is bad. Now I'm working with YMCAs across the country to start PFP at the Y programs. Glad I spoke with you Coveredbridge. Hope to see you on RAGBRAI this summer!


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