Strength Training to Managing Parkinson's Disease

Regular exercise under the supervision of an Exercise Physiologist can help to improve coordination, gait, balance and decrease stiffness for people living with Parkinson's disease. Kieser Exercise Physiologist, Jo Falconer, shares some insights on how exercise can help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

What is Parkinson's disease 

Parkinson's disease is a progressive condition caused by damage to the part of the brain which produces dopamine. This dopamine deficiency causes a poverty of movement which is recognised by the most commonly known Parkinson's symptoms; tremor, rigidity (muscle and joint stiffness) and bradykinesia (slow movement). Before these motor symptoms are detected other changes may be happening which often go unnoticed including loss of smell, difficulty sleeping/restless in bed and deterioration of fine motor skills such as handwriting.

30 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's in Australia every day and approximately 100,000 Australians currently have Parkinson's. The average age of onset is 55 to 60 yrs and while the cause is unknown the biggest risk factor is age. 

How can exercise help?

Exercise intervention is most effective as early after diagnosis as possible. Those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease benefit from general exercise in the same way a healthy population does - reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, maintaining muscle and bone health, improving mental health and well-being along with many other benefits. But specific exercise programs designed by an Exercise Physiologist for those with Parkinson's disease can directly address their specific symptoms, improving coordination, gait, balance and decrease stiffness, while also improving memory, mood, and sleep.  

The 11th of April is World Parkinson’s Day, which is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, visit your Exercise Physiologist at Kieser today for a tailored exercise program.


Article written and sourced by Jo Falconer, Exercise Physiologist at Kieser Essendon.

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