Sticking with an exercise plan is difficult, and for those with Parkinson’s disease— who may struggle with rigidity, tremors, loss of balance and control over muscles— the challenge can seem insurmountable.
However, movement therapy is gaining in popularity among the Parkinson’s population, due to the astounding improvements being noticed. According to Dr. Daniel Tarsy, Parkinson’s disease program director at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, after participating in movement therapy, “Patients look a lot different walking out an hour later than they did walking in. They literally have a bounce to their step.”
Activities recommended are diverse – including boxing, drumming, dancing, tai chi, cycling, treadmill workouts, and golfing. And participants are ecstatic over the results, feeling liberation from the disease and motivation that they take with them after each session. One participant found that after a session of boxing, he was able to go twice as long before needing medication, and reported a lift in feelings of depression and low self-esteem as well.
Recent study findings back up these results, documenting better balance and movement control in those who participated in movement therapy, as well as improved gait, flexibility, strength and motor coordination. Not only that, but in a Swedish study of 43,000 patients, the risk of developing Parkinson’s was nearly cut in half for those who engaged in moderate levels of exercise.
Visit NPR to learn more about how exercise is changing the lives of those with Parkinson’s.
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