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parkinsons exercises

Parkinson’s Exercises to Build Strength

For seniors with Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s exercises are an essential part of healthy living. With medication and exercise, those with Parkinson’s disease can lessen their symptoms and improve their well-being. 

Since Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition with no cure, an exercise program should begin immediately following a diagnosis. Exercising regularly can help to maintain balance, mobility, and ability to perform daily tasks. 

Whether living at home or in an assisted living or memory care community, there are various exercises seniors can engage in to help them prolong their independence. 

Aside from helping seniors with Parkinson’s disease feel better physically, exercise can also help mentally and emotionally. It’s beneficial to keep seniors enriched and active, no matter their condition. 

Learn more about the benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease, exercises for each stage of the disease, and where to find an active and supportive community for your loved one. 

The benefits of exercise for those with Parkinson’s disease

Seniors with Parkinson’s disease who exercise appear to experience a slower decline in quality of life compared to seniors who do not.

During exercise, there is an increase in oxygen delivery which helps keep the heart, lungs, and nervous system healthy. This helps to slow disease progression and other complications associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Staying active can help seniors maintain balance and the ability to perform daily routines while reducing stiffness and improving mobility, posture, and gait.

Seniors can improve their strength and stop or slow osteoporosis by exercising just a few times a week. Exercise can help manage non-motor symptoms as well. 

Exercise is associated with:

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Reduced depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Improved sleep 
  • Decreased constipation 
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Improved drug efficacy

At The Kensington Reston, our team recognizes the challenges that seniors with Parkinson’s disease face and support them along their journey. 

With professional rehabilitation therapists with HealthPro Heritage, and a calendar full of life enrichment activities, your loved ones can improve their well-being and quality of life. 

The essential elements of exercising with Parkinson’s disease

Seniors will be more encouraged to continue their exercise if the activity is one that they enjoy. 

No one particular exercise is better than others for those with Parkinson’s, but the following four core elements should be included in their exercise regimen. 

Aerobic activities 

Getting the heart pumping is essential. Try a brisk walk or easy jog, swimming, or stationary cycling. 

Strength training

Use weights or resistance bands two to three times a week, for around 30 minutes per session, to improve muscle strength. 

Balance and agility

These Parkinson’s exercises can be done daily, but at least two or three times a week is beneficial. Activities such as dancing and tai chi can help your senior strengthen their balance.

Stretching 

Stretches should be done daily but especially before other exercises. Yoga or Pilates can help to improve flexibility. 

Early-stage Parkinson’s exercises

During the early stage, seniors may still be able to perform vigorous exercises, as their mobility impairments will be minimum. 

Seniors should exercise at least three times a week for the most benefits.

Your loved one can do chair squats, push-ups, jog, bike, lift weights, and any other exercise routine they enjoy.

Before starting an exercise regimen, a senior should speak with their physician and complete a physical exam so they know which exercises are safe.

To make exercising more fun, seniors can use pedometers or smartphone fitness apps to give themselves challenges and rewards.

Middle-stage Parkinson’s exercises

As the disease progresses, movements will become more complicated, and the risk of falling increases. 

Seniors can still jog, but it would be safest for them to jog in place next to a chair or handrail. 

Bridges, in which the senior lays on their back and uses their leg strength to lift their hips repeatedly, are a good exercise for seniors to strengthen their leg muscles, which may help them stand for more extended periods. 

Dancing, yoga, and tai chi can be done on a mat and help seniors improve or maintain their balance and flexibility and reduce stiffness.

Chair exercises may be helpful if your loved one gets tired quickly. 

Advanced-stage Parkinson’s exercises

It will be challenging for seniors to stand and walk during advanced-stage Parkinson’s disease. However, there are still various exercises for them to engage in. 

Exercises that strengthen muscles, such as clam shells, trunk twists, and heel lifts, can help seniors with movement and balance. 

Since seniors in this later stage have difficulties speaking and swallowing, they can practice facial exercises by exaggerating their face and lip movements, making faces in the mirror, and singing or reading aloud. 

Is your senior ready for a supportive rehab team and community?

At The Kensington Reston, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. We strive to make our assisted living and memory care communities a place for our residents to receive high acuity care and live a higher quality of life. 

Even seniors in the most advanced stages of memory disease or Parkinson’s disease can age in place. 

Our communities offer: 

  • Around-the-clock care 
  • COVID-19 safety protocols
  • On-site rehabilitation services
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy 
    • Speech therapy 
  • Fitness center and classes on-site
  • Life-enrichment activities 
  • Exquisite dining services
  • The Kensington Day club
    • Moving the boy yoga
    • Tai chi
    • Dance
    • Socializing 
    • Meditation 
    • Brain games
  • Caregiver support
  • Pocket programming
    • Specialized small-group activities that cater to each resident’s interests and abilities. 

Contact our team today to learn more about our communities, caregiver support, events, and our care approach for those with Parkinson’s disease.

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