The benefits of exercise for older adults are significant; however, for seniors with Parkinson’s disease, it could truly be a game-changer regarding the progression associated with the disease. Several studies are displaying direct links between physical activity and Parkinson’s, including the largest clinical study up to now, in which patients who exercised no less than 2½ hours each week gained a greater quality of life compared to those who refrained from physical activity. And that is just the beginning.
The onset of Parkinson’s symptoms takes place following a loss in the brain cells that create dopamine. Researchers believe that exercise allows the mind to restore lost connections, form new ones, and continue maintaining those that are established. Additional studies show:
- Gains were noticed in stride length, gait speed and balance following treadmill exercise – after as little as only one session, and enduring for many weeks afterwards.
- Motor function and coordination were improved in people who pedaled at a faster rate on a stationary bike – once more, with results lasting for weeks after the study was over.
- Noticeable improvements regarding the normalcy of movement were discovered in individuals with Parkinson’s who engaged in a regular exercise routine in comparison to those that did not.
It’s important to note that the results achieved were reliant upon consistent, ongoing exercise. The clinical tests reported that any protective benefits achieved were discontinued if the amount and intensity of exercise was reduced or was implemented just for a brief period of time. The essential criteria for sustainable results appear to be the same as those necessary to help those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke: intensity, specificity, difficulty and complexity.
Additional scientific studies are underway to hone in even more on the benefits of exercise for seniors with Parkinson’s disease, as well as the precise reasoning behind it. In the meantime, in the event your family member has been identified as having Parkinson’s disease, it is certainly advantageous to consult with his or her primary care physician for a recommended exercise routine.
For help with safe, dependable transportation and accompaniment to a doctor’s appointment or exercise program, or encouragement and motivation to engage in an ongoing exercise program at home, call our respite care team at Carolina Hearts Home Care at 1-855-277-2005. Our professional in-home care services are available to enhance overall wellbeing for anyone with Parkinson’s disease, or any other condition of aging. Contact us today to learn more about our home and respite care in Aberdeen and other nearby areas.