Parkinson’s: Exercises for Elderly
Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease patients is extremely important. Maintaining muscle strength, flexibility, and stretching helps to delay the muscle contraction caused by the disease.
Think about aerobic activities – ideally 3 days a week for 30 minutes per session. More is even better. Activities can include brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, and an aerobics class.
Strength Training – 2–3 non-consecutive days for 30 minutes per session. Training can include weight machines, resistance bands, and light/moderate handheld weights.
Maintaining your balance thru some specific exercise routines. Try 2–3 days per week with daily smaller activities. Some things can even be accomplished while watching TV! Exercises should include activities that require multi-directional stepping, weight shifting, dynamic balance activities, large movements, and multitasking such as yoga, tai chi, dance, or even boxing.
Finally 2–3 days per week of muscle stretching. Daily stretches are greatly encouraged. Stretches should work on sustained positions with deep breathing or dynamic stretching before exercise.
The primary dangers for Parkinson’s disease patients are from falling. Also, from pneumonia.
Since Parkinson’s affects the neural pathways controlling movement and balance, even walking on flat surfaces can be difficult to navigate. Falls that require surgery carry multiple risks to our older adults related to medications, blood clots and heart involvement. Parkinson’s can also (eventually) affect the ability to swallow, leading to an increased risk of aspirating food or drink into the lungs. While many of us can “cough up” items that we’ve swallowed incorrectly, those with Parkinson’s may be unable to do so. Coughing serves a purpose. It helps to clear mucous and phlegm from our chests to prevent build-up and infection. Unfortunately, elderly with Parkinson’s are not able to adequately cough to clear their lungs, and are at risk for multiple more risky conditions. Pneumonia can result.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164
Email: [email protected]