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Targeted Exercise for Older Adults with Parkinson’s

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 8:18 pm on

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the nervous system. While the disease can cause a variety of symptoms, early stage symptoms often include tremors, the inability to show facial express or a slight slur in speech. As the disease progresses, varying motor functions may decline. While physical therapy programs have been a great way to help Parkinson’s patients manage symptoms, new evidence is showing the benefits of targeted exercise for those living with the disease.

Unlike normal exercise routines, Parkinson’s specialists or certified fitness trainers develop a workout regimen that includes a variety of activities ranging from stretching and strength training exercises to walking and more aerobic activities that get the heart pumping. By varying the exercises and the movements required to complete these exercises, Parkinson’s patients are able to challenge their brain to develop or strengthen a variety of neural connections.

The main idea behind targeted exercise is to focus on various motions as opposed to repetitive interactions. Then, as balance and coordination become an issue for the patient, he or she will already have been working on the targeted exercises to help compensate for such changes. By working to strengthen all areas of the body using different techniques, Parkinson’s patients can maintain as much independence as possible, for as long as possible.

Another benefit is that the pain and discomfort associated with Parkinson’s may be reduced with targeted exercise. Stretching muscles regularly and staying active helps the body them from tightening up, lessening discomfort and immobility. Exercise also encourages the release of endorphins, raising the pain threshold and promoting a greater sense of well-being.

Along with a well-balanced diet, exercise can help prevent other health issues like heart disease that may compound the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. If you have an aging parent or loved one who is living with Parkinson’s, learn more about Sonoma County Parkinson’s care. With the assistance of a professional Parkinson’s caregiver, seniors can carry out exercise activities safely, while also receiving help at home with daily activities, personal care, transportation and more.

Home Care Assistance is a trusted provider of senior home care in Sonoma County, with caregivers who are trained specifically in how to care for seniors with Parkinson’s and how to effectively manage associated symptoms. Find out how our services can benefit your aging parent, grandparent or loved one by calling 707-843-4368.