Strength Training for Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease can affect anyone - male or female and at any age, although it is more common in older age. Currently, one in every 340 people in Australia lives with Parkinson’s Disease which makes it more prevalent than many cancers including breast cancer, leukaemia, kidney cancer and lung cancer.

Parkinson’s disease is characterised as a progressive degenerative condition of the nervous system, affecting the physical, psychological, social, and functional status of individuals. Parkinson’s disease affects between 1-2% of individuals over 65 years of age, with approximately 6 million peopled affected worldwide. Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include age, genetics, exposure to pesticides, head injuries and stress. Prominent signs of Parkinson’s disease include; rigidity, resting tremor, postural instability, slowness of movements, muscle weakness, impaired balance, reduced walking speed and step length (shuffling), increased number of falls, fear of falling, depression and fatigue.  

Falls risk increases significantly in individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, research shows that 70% of those with Parkinson’s disease fall annually, and 13% fall multiple times weekly. Increased frequency of falling can cause injuries, fear of falling and contribute to inactivity and a reduced quality of life. 

Exercise & Parkinson's

Regular exercise is extremely important in treating and managing Parkinson’s disease. Benefits of regular exercise can include increased health related quality of life, muscular strength and endurance, balance, mobility, walking speed and achievement of outcomes. Likewise, regular exercise has displayed a reduction in falls and near fall events, as well as a reduced falls risk and fear of falling.

Exercise guidelines for Parkinson’s disease recommend 4-5 days per week from 40-60 minutes, made up of low-moderate aerobic exercise, strength training, mobility, stretching and balance exercises.

Falls & Balance classes at Kieser

Falls and balance group classes are currently running at a number of our centres. Prior to attending a class, you must undergo an initial consultation and balance assessment with a Kieser Exercise Physiologist, who will provide you with an exercise program tailored to your level of ability. If you feel like balance and risk of falling is an issue, please visit your local Kieser centre for more information.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, or is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please visit your Exercise Physiologist today to discuss the right exercise program that is tailored to your specific needs.

Article written and sourced by Ben Milner, Exercise Physiologist at Kieser Brighton

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