Heather J. Cianci, PT, MS, GCS, physical therapist with the Dan Aaron Parkinson's Rehabilitation Center, shares some important information on recent research that can help you to better plan your home exercise program:
- If you are not currently exercising, you really should get started. Even if you feel you are not having any difficulties, research suggests that certain types of exercise may actually slow disease progression.
- Exercise should be both mentally and physically challenging.
- Exercise should be intensive, which means it should raise your heart rate and make you sweat.
- Exercise should focus on making your movements as big as possible.
- You should exercise daily. Just as you take your prescription medications every day, you should exercise every day.
- Exercise should help you improve in areas where you are having a hard time. If you struggle with getting up from a chair, work on exercises that focus on exactly how you get up and down. If you have trouble with balance, ask your therapist to prescribe exercises specifically focused on that.
How to Get StartedAs stated above, if you aren’t currently exercising, you should be. It’s important that you take into account your overall fitness level, so that you don’t overdo it. Because of that, talking with your physical therapist is a good first step. This way you can get an exercise plan developed specifically for your needs and work with an expert to determine what you can (and can’t) do safely.