Specialised exercise prescription for Parkinson’s targets coordination, muscular patterning, stabilisation and the multi-tasking of physical and mental skills. This results in reduced stiffness, improved mobility, posture and balance.
Your Accredited Exercise Physiologist understands the physiological effects of Parkinson’s and can therefore prescribe exercise that is safe, beneficial and stimulating.
Physiotherapists are trained to provide treatment plans for people at all stages of Parkinson’s disease. Treatments will vary according to your stage of Parkinson’s disease and individual problems.
Because research evidence suggests that regular, vigorous exercise may delay the onset and progression of disability, exercise and physical activity are very important. Even if you have been recently diagnosed, a physiotherapist can help you devise an activity and exercise program which is appropriate and enjoyable.
Maintaining or increasing physical activity and exercise has many benefits including strengthening muscles, improving balance and reducing stiffness, and maintaining heart health and fitness. A physiotherapist will assess your individual needs and tailor an appropriate program which could include some of the following:
Resistance training: Training to improve muscle strength.
Balance training: It is important to train balance skills because people with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of falls than the general population.
Training of everyday activities: Includes practising specific aspects of walking or common actions like rolling and getting out of a chair. If you find it difficult to initiate or maintain actions such as walking, your physiotherapist can give you advice on strategies and cues you can use to help you overcome these problems.
Cardio-vascular training: Your program may include activities such as treadmill training to improve your fitness level.
Hand training: An exercise program of dexterity exercises may improve your ability to manipulate small objects.
If you have Parkinson’s disease, it is important for you to maintain or increase your level of exercise and physical activity. It is not necessary to stop sporting activities as long as you are safe to continue.
There are many ways to increase your levels of exercise and activity. Select activities that you enjoy and are more likely to continue in the longer term. Some options are gym sessions, community exercise groups, boxing exercise, and special programs specifically developed for people with Parkinson’s disease. Tai Chi and different types of dance have also been found to be effective for improving balance.
As each person with Parkinson’s disease is different, your physiotherapist can help you to develop an exercise and activity regime to suit your needs. Home exercise programs may include walking and balance training, practising daily activities and strengthening exercises.
Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience falls. You may be able to reduce your risk of falls at home by making simple changes such as clearing cluttered areas and removing dangerous obstacles such as loose carpets. If you have more advanced Parkinson’s disease, your physiotherapist may help you to learn movement strategies to make it easier to move around your home.