Exercise for PD

I have just been DX and I am keen to start an exercise programme to help with my PD (shaky legs etc) any tips or can you recommend any good books?

Phil B

Hi Philb,
Welcome to the community!

Parkinson's UK produces a booklet and DVD called Keeping Moving. You can read more about it here: http://bit.ly/KXQxj4

You can order them on our website or by calling the helpline at 0808 800 0303. They are free of charge.

I'm sure that others on the forum will also have ideas.

I hope this helps.

Things you can do at your own pace can be better than trying on a bad day to keep up with other people. I find yoga great and swimming (except some days I don't seem to be keeping my balance in the water so I do some leg exercises etc instead)
Pilates works for me too.

I think with all exercise the main thing is to enjoy it; otherwise you don't keep it up and parkinsons will always serve as an excuse!

For me overdoing it is counterproductive too. Every other day is good to aim for in terms of structured exercise.

Good luck and keep us posted!

It may be worth finding out if there is any physiotherapy available in your area via the NHS. This may take the form of one-to-one assessment and discussion, or regular classes - or both.

I go to physio in France. When I became ill at first, the UK physio taught me to lie on my back and rock pelvis up and down off the floor (30 times). This stretches my back, has made me supple with strong abdo muscles. Also, pelvic lifts and lift lower back and pelvis off the floor. I try to do these at least ten mins every evening as they are easy and relaxing. Also lie on stomach and raise both arms up and down off the ground at sides to strengthen shoulders (say 50 times, rest and repeat). Stretches are good such as standing with back against a wall and stretching arms up above head. Can stand on one leg, hand on a chair for balance, and swing the other leg out to the side and back in to stretch inner leg muscles. Also pull shoulders back to strengthen shoulder blades. When waiting for kettle to boil, can do things like stretch arms up, down to touch shoulders then stretch up again. I'm not sporty but I feel the exercises help even for my stamina. Best wishes and welcome to Forum.

my main problem is rigidity and bradykinesia of my right wrist.
It always feels much better after lifting weights and doing yoga
yoga is good for balance and stamina, so will hold me in good stead if and when things get worse

Exercise does not have to be particularly vigorous. Gentle stretching and bending movements, that's the thing. Yoga is particularly good, as is swimming. Even a gentle stroll through the park. Ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist.

hi ya welcome to the forum,im ali im 43 years old ,been dx for 11 half years.i go to the gym ,which was set up by my gp,having a one to one with a person who nows wots rong with me and wot im able to go on,i like it cus it helps me feel bit beter bout me self that im trying to keep goingif you speak with your gp he will no wot im talking about they do it all over the place now,nhs.:smile:

i have to agree whole-heartedly that stretching (including yoga) is the most important thing. And exercises that reinforce your pre-pd alignment, pd twists everything out of alignment so it doesn't work right - joints, tendons. that causes a lot of aches and pains. As muscles work in pairs and PD affects one of those pairs more than the other (usually the flexor muscle) I would have thought that it would be particularly important to stretch the muscle that is contracted, ie to stretch in the opposite direction from that which pd is pulling. But I don't know whether thats true.

Im finding Body Balance classes really helpful - they incorporate elements of Yoga and Pilates. My local YMCA runs them.

inented by
les Mills NZ and Australia! must be good. I shall be investigating trying it out.

Tai Chi. Gentle, peaceful, calming. Especially good for balance, flexibility, and coordination.

"Golden Oldie" type exercise programmes. The one i attend is run by a local Gym.It includes Aerobics ( well,sort of), stretching exercises, ball skills, and this week we learned the Macarena (had to be seen to be believed! :grin: Give it a go and put a bit of fun back into your life while you get fit.

The thread "Exercises classes" started last April also has responses about exercise. I have not come across any books with exercises except for the Keep Moving booklet which to me needs updating and expanding. I feel there is a lack of published information on this. I have been lucky enough to have been shown exercises by several good physiotherapists. I wonder if it would be possible for Parkinsons UK to include more info on exercises on the website.

Polly - very interested in your exercise regime - the one where you lie on your stomach and raise your arms and legs fits in with what i was thinking ie that you need to stretch in the opposite direction that pd wants- is always trying to scrunch you up into a ball. are these exercises published anywhere?
of to try this one now, will probably be stuck on the floor for a while!

Hi polly,
I've passed your comments on to our Resources team and have asked them whether they're planning to update the Keeping Moving booklet/DVD shortly.

I'll let you know when they get back to me.

Hi again,

The team has got back to me quite quickly. (Thanks team!)
They will be updating the booklet/DVD next year and there is likely to be a substantial revamp.

They've taken on board the comments from this thread. Feedback from people who use this resource will help shape the new version so do send any more comments you might have to publications(at)parkinsons.org.uk.

You can also get in touch if you would like to be involved in the review process.

Hope this helps!

Hi All, I'm glad someone has called for a revamp of the PD UK stuff on exercise as I thought I was being over critical. It all looked a bit tame to me although obviously there has to be caution in info. aimed at all levels of PD. Perhaps people are getting dx sooner these days. Like Turnip it seems to me that stretching is most important to counteract the insidious effects of PD on one type of muscle and I certainly find yoga very beneficial. I also do Nordic walking ( walking with two poles) with a group because it inspires me to go faster than I would ever go by myself, It exercises the whole body, helps with balance and posture, gives the spine a good work out, and lengthens the stride. You don't have to go that fast to get most of the benefits. I certainly don't go with the faster groups.

Re physiotherapy. In theory i.e. according to the NICE guidelines, upon dx PWP's should get an assessment and advice from the NHS Physiotherapy service although I have to say I was non too impressed with mine after I insisted on getting it. However, I get the impression that physiotherapy varies widely across the country so it might be well worth pursuing this.

I did Body balance for a while but found the subtle pressure to keep up with the music wasn't that good for me; I prefer 'real' yoga and pilates where you pace yourself with your own breath; more centering and calming I find and more time to stretch fully.
Just my experience...