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Can Parkinson’s Be Reversed with Exercise?

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In Canada, approximately one out of every 500 residents in the country lives with Parkinson’s. Nearly 90 percent of these cases occur in adults aged 60 or older. Scientists now know that exercise offers seniors with Parkinson’s many benefits in terms of symptomatic relief. However, increasing physical activity doesn’t cure the disorder.

The Importance of Exercise

Parkinson’s causes disruptions in the communication between neurons. Thus, it’s as if nerves forget how to send the right transmissions to make muscles move normally. Moderately intense exercise corrects the deficit by enhancing the brain’s ability to be flexible while protecting delicate neurons from ongoing degeneration. Exercise has also been shown to increase motor skills in fine and large muscle groups. 

Numerous studies indicate seniors with Parkinson’s need to include exercise regimens in their treatment programs. Staying physically active has the potential to slow the disease’s progression in addition to increasing balance, flexibility, and range of motion and enhancing gait by increasing muscle strength. 

Using the same exercise routine day in and day out may become boring over time. As such, seniors with Parkinson’s must vary their activity. They should try something new and choose fun activities that keep the mind and body engaged for the long haul. By working with physical therapists, seniors get assistance in creating long-term goals. A licensed therapist can provide insight as to which areas of the body may need focused attention. The therapist may also offer suggestions concerning what types of exercise will achieve the best results. 

Depending on the progression of the disease, some aging adults with Parkinson’s may need extra help, and the amount of assistance required can vary, from occasional to around the clock. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Vancouver Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Things to Consider Regarding Exercise

Seniors with Parkinson’s must work closely with their healthcare teams to design customized exercise programs that suit individual needs. They should take the time to warm up the muscles before starting their exercise routines, then cool down when finishing. In the beginning, seniors should exercise for approximately 10 minutes, then gradually work up to 30- to 60-minute sessions each day. Along with exercising major muscle groups, it’s important to work the facial and vocal muscles. When seniors begin feeling sick, uncomfortable, or tired, they should stop and rest. 

If your loved one needs help exercising safely, consider enlisting the help of a professional caregiver. When considering at-home care, Vancouver, BC, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

Recommended Physical Activities

Agility programs are ideal for increasing balance, flexibility, and gait. Some of the exercise activities that fit into this category include boxing, kayaking, lunges, Pilates, and tai chi. Some communities offer agility courses that require seniors to navigate through small spaces and practice turning while maintaining balance. Better gait patterns can be achieved by engaging in high-stepping marches, skipping, and shuffling motions. 

Cycling is another great activity, whether venturing out onto the open road or riding a stationary bike indoors. A biomedical engineer from the Cleveland Clinic made a cross-country bicycle trek with a number of people, including a woman with Parkinson’s. When she increased pedaling intensity, her symptoms diminished. As a result, cycling has become a highly recommended activity for seniors with Parkinson’s. Symptom suppression following a cycling session has been known to extend for weeks.

Some aging adults with Parkinson’s may need help getting the exercise they need to stay strong. In Vancouver, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at (778) 715-5134 today.