Parkinson's disease is a condition that results in slowed movements, tremors, balance problems, or problems with your gait. Other symptoms can appear, since the disease causes a loss of nerve cells in the brain. Fortunately, with exercise and physical therapy, some of the symptoms can be lessened.
Physical Therapy: What Does It Do?
The goal of physical therapy for those with Parkinson's disease is to limit the number of symptoms present. This is done by:
- Improving the person's mobility, posture, gait, and balance
- Reducing stiffness
- Reducing memory loss
Unlike traditional physical therapy, physical therapy for those with Parkinson's disease focuses on memory-based activities as well as physical activities. This aims to boost brain function and to help keep away depression or memory-loss-related side effects.
Aerobic exercises are typically prominent in a physical therapy program for Parkinson's disease. These exercises increase the heart rate, work the lungs, and keep the nervous system in good health, which is vital for those suffering from this disease.
Physical Therapy: What Exercises Will You Do?
There are many different exercises used for those with Parkinson's disease, but unlike normal physical therapy, some include training for memory, writing, or reducing tremors.
You'll work primarily on aerobic and learning-based exercises. These exercises challenge you to:
- Change tempo, like speeding up a treadmill or dancing with different songs
- Stay active with 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day
- Change direction. This is done with random exercises completed within the exercise time frame. It works various muscles in rapid succession.
Typical exercises include:
- Sports, like tennis, volleyball, or baseball
- Aerobic classes
- Tai Chi
- Paced Walking
Weight lifting may not be directly beneficial for those with Parkinson's disease, but using light weights can help keep your muscles in good shape.
Physical Therapy: What About Other Symptoms?
- Depression: Interestingly, it's been shown that exercise, particularly aerobic, reduces depression, which is another side effect of Parkinson's disease.
- Memory Loss: With physical therapy, learning-based memory exercises can also be completed. Remembering a dance routine, playing games, or using flash cards are all potential options.
- Hand Tremors: Hand tremors can make it hard to write, so physical therapy will also focus on practicing your writing skills. Simply using the muscles can have the benefit of reducing symptoms.
By following a physical therapy plan, you can reduce your symptoms and keep yourself in good shape physically. A physical therapy treatment center, such as Bronx Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, will add the proper medications and treatments to keep you healthy longer.