Regular exercise is essential for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Overall, exercise can improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s, and it may help some of the most difficult motor and non-motor symptoms of the disease. Many studies suggest exercise may improve how the brain uses and protects remaining cells that produce dopamine.
Exercise can benefit people who have Parkinson’s in the following important ways:
- Symptom Management: Research has shown that exercise can improve motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, including flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, gait and strength.
- Non-motor Symptoms: Exercise may positively impact non-motor functions, including depression, apathy, cognition and sleep difficulties, common in Parkinson’s.
- Delay Mobility Decline: Studies suggest that exercise may slow the progression of symptoms.
According to the Brian Grant Foundation, Parkinson’s patients enrolled in exercise programs for longer than six months, regardless of intensity, have shown significant gains in function. However, greater intensity reaps greater benefits for people with Parkinson’s. That’s why experts recommend that people with Parkinson’s, particularly those in early stages, exercise with as much intensity as safely as possible, for as long as possible. For best results, people with Parkinson’s should consistently exercise almost daily for about an hour. The exercise sessions should be challenging, requiring focus and effort.
Research indicates that exercising at 80-85% of maximum heart rate show more benefit on Parkinson’s symptoms that exercising at 60-65 % of the maximum heart rate, for people in the early stages of the disease. That's why classes with Sifu Robyn are designed to move your whole body and get that heart pumping. Here's what you can expect:
- Big movements with full, functional sequences
- Reciprocal arm and leg movements that require planning and decision making
- Torso rotations
- Strong voices
- Erect postural alignment exercises
- Controlled slow and quick movements with balance and stability exercises
- Strengthening of extensor muscles and stretching of flexor muscles
- Cardiovascular conditioning
- Dual tasks (performing multiple tasks simultaneously) that include physical and cognitive tasks
- Whole body movement with progressive complexity of movements by varying contexts
- Social connection
That last one is important. Dragon Crane classes promise to be fun and enjoyable with plenty of time for connecting!