If your loved one is living with Parkinson’s, working with his or her physician to develop a treatment plan is just one aspect of managing the disease and its symptoms. In addition to prescribed medications, a growing body of research suggests exercise can help seniors with Parkinson’s remain active and fairly limber, while improving coordination and balance.
How Exercise Helps Manage Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
Regular exercise has both long and short-term benefits for seniors living with Parkinson’s disease. Various forms of exercise can help manage symptoms by reducing tremors and improving coordination, grip strength, flexibility, balance, and gait.
With improved mobility comes a lower risk of falls, and patients will also be able to better maintain their regular routines and as much independence as possible. There is a strong consensus among physical therapists and senior care specialists that regular, intense exercise also helps protect the brain against cognitive decline associated with aging.
Recommended Exercise for Seniors with Parkinson’s
Aerobic and learning-based exercises like dancing have been shown to be neuroprotective, meaning such exercises can help protect neurons in the brain from degeneration and injury. Dancing may also help by decreasing the stiffness often associated with Parkinson’s.
Exercise that challenges someone to change their direction, activity, or tempo also seems to benefit seniors with Parkinson’s. Examples of these types of exercises include:
- Tai Chi classes
- Dancing to music
- Walking outdoors
- Aerobic classes
- Ping pong
With regular exercise, it’s possible to not only manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s, but slow the progression of the disease, helping to avoid many complications that can severely impact quality of life. The best way to incorporate exercise into your loved one’s daily routine is finding something that he or she truly enjoys and will feel motivated to do regularly, whether it’s dancing at home or taking classes. Remember to discuss any changes in your loved one’s exercise routine with his or her doctor.
For more information about caring for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a premier Centennial Parkinson’s care provider. Our trained caregivers offer flexible hourly and live-in care on an as-needed basis, and can assist with in-home chores, personal care, transportation, and so much more. Call us today at 303-957-3100 for the trusted name in Parkinson’s home care.