Can anyone tell me their experience of doing exercise and the benefits for people with parkinsons - I am not very sporty and finding time to do exercise will be hard as I work 12 hours a day so am absolutely pooped at the end of the day - is it really more important than the meds themselves. .

Hi, moonandstars --

There are probably statistics on this subject, but speaking strictly from my own experience, I'd say that exercise is as important as the right combination of meds.  I wouldn't want to be without either.  Over my 17 years with PD now, there have been times when I've gotten lazy or have been ill and skipped my exercise routine.  Believe me, I felt the difference! 

I understand your "not very sporty" comment.  In my youth I spent very little time on sports or exercise, considering games a waste of time.  Before my diagnosis, though, I discovered I enjoyed hiking.  After the diagnosis I added workouts at a gym and stretching exercises at home.  I still have to force myself to exercise, but I really feel the benefits in flexibility, stamina, and level of pain.  For improvement in balance, I take Tai Chi classes.  They are so enjoyable that I go eagerly rather than reluctantly!

When I was an instructor of English classes, I worked 12-hour days often, too.  But I had already left the field of education when I was diagnosed; therefore, time allotment for exercise was not such a problem.   If you learn a routine of stretching exercises and a series of exercises using weights, you can accomplish a lot at home either before or after work.  Then perhaps you could add walking or tennis or golf or anything you like on weekends.  Just suggestions . . .    I know it's extremely hard to squeeze anything into a busy working person's schedule.

Best of luck,


Hi Moonandstars

I find an indoor exercise bike handy,I use it every other day usually half an hour at a time and can notice the difference if I don't do it ,it reduces my stiffness and seemingly gives me more energy ( lots of good intention  bought exercise bikes appear on ebay and can be cheap to pick up ) .When the weather is good and theres more daylight I ride my bike to work it saves cash and isn't that much different in journey time in todays traffic to my car. I have also found Tai Chi to be good its not strenuous but seemingly trains the brain to move differently to the way we usually do and this seems to help. Anything that gets you to move multiple limbs at the same time helps stimulate the brain regions involved in our condition I have tried the aerobics in front of the TV and it is good though my self discipline to keep up it is not great ,my local young onset group are organising boxing exercise classes which I am going to give a go . All in all I think it is important to do any exercise you feel comfortable with and are able to do  without doing any harm ,I think over the longer term there is an element of use it or lose it .I'm not sure that I would go so far as to say it is more important than the meds but it is certainly significant to my own experience.Find something that makes you active but you also enjoy doing . 


Good Luck

I certainly can concur with iceni, starting the day with my indoor bike really loosens me up.  I follow this up with exercises that I have downloaded from the parkinsons society in canada as i find them very clear and easy to follow.  They include balancing exercises such as standing on one leg and I have really been able to improve my balance over time.  I also go to pilates once a week with my husband, i think it is good to have someone to go to things with and on another day a couple of friends meet for a walk in our nearby park, we usually do about three miles.  My friends suffer from arthritis so often the pace is not fast but it is good to be outside in the fresh air, we always finish with tea and cake at one of our houses as a reward for doing the exercise!  The last few days we have been away in our campervan and i wasn't doing my regular exercises and I really noticed how stiff i was.  Today being good weather we have been for a short ride on our bikes to get some bike parts and stopped for coffee.  So really I think you need to try and make exercise enjoyable by mixing it with social activities, i wouldn't do half as much if i was just on my own.  I also feel better about myself if i am moving about.  Last weekend we locked ourselves out of our back garden when we had our van around to clean it.  I managed to get back in by climbing over the wall from our neighbours, ( not as impressive as it sounds as the wall was only about 4 feet at that point as there were raised flower beds on both sides) I never gave it a thought but several people were surprised that i was able to do it so i don't want people to think that just because i have PD i need help to do simple things otherwise i might believe it myself.

Hi mands

I jokingly say I try to amass all the evidence I can that exercise is terribly bad for you. But truth is, it doe seem to be important, blast it. PUK says there’s evidence it’s neuroprotective (find that a bit of a stretch) and it helps with balance (seems logical). My neuro is pretty easy-going, but even she pulled a face when I admitted to my sedentary ways.

Like you, I’m on 12 hours a day (when I can what with the tiredness) so there are plenty of reasons if not excuses to not exercise. Like you I’m not at all sporty (ugh, the very idea). Here’s my tips* for the reluctant exerciser: Stretches can be done anytime pretty much any place - I like head rolls, which make turning my head easier. When I go to meetings in the big smoke, I try to allow an extra quarter-hour each end of the day, and walk part of the journey instead of tube or bus. My partner drags me out on short walks when I’m working at home (I wouldn’t if left to my own devices). Get yourself half an acre of scrubby grass to cut - and ensure you can’t do it with a ride-on. Walk purposefully, don’t stroll. Our walk at home takes us up a reasonably stiff hill - set a good pace. Back to the tubes: don’t stand on escalators, especially going up. My own rule is that the day I can’t walk up the escalator at Holborn is the day I have to retire.

And I don’t intend to retire just yet.

*Disclaimer: I have no qualifications in exercise and don’t know what I’m talking about, so follow these tips at you own peril.

Yours in exercise hell (but we know it’s good for us, really)


Thanks for your advice and I must admit I had to smile when I read semele's response - it is good to have a laugh even when faced with the trials of pd.  I do think I need to do some exercises as my joints, neck and back are very stiff, not helped by the fact that I sit down for 99 percent of the day -  just got to get round the sheer exhaustion that I feel at the end of the day.  Thanks Semele, enjoyed the chuckle lol


Hi Moonandstars.......My PD Nurse reckons to exercise as much as you feel you can do without making yourself too tired. I have never been sporty either but have always enjoyed walking. Nowadays it is more of a stroll along the prom as it is flat, i can't manage hills at all, and i love walking around shops!!!razzwell its all exercise ay? My Grandad taught Ballroom, Latin and Sequence but i didn't want to do it when i was a kid and yet over the last 8 years or so after joining classes i have been addicted especially to Line dancing it really helps with my balance and co-ordination also the music makes me feel happy and alive. I have Arthritis in my sacroilliac area and prolapse discs as a result of 3 fractures in the pelvis from a taxi driver who didn't see me when i was crossing the road though that was 20 years ago! i find now if i sit around my pain and stiffness is much worse, so i guess do what you can, when you can, every little helps.

my best wishes to you

Dollybig grin


     I have my own exercise routine at home.Incorporating all aspects of strength plus cardiovascular.I can also dive in a swimming pool and reel off a mile of any stroke,no problem.Anything physical really.I find exercise as beneficial as meds,having a fit body is a confidence builder .Most people wouldn't know I had pd,because being toned is a superb smokescreen.I am fitter than most people my age(50 in 2 weeks).Parkinsons should not be a deterrent to anybody with pd wishing to feel younger and look younger.




I took up Tai Chi and it has really been of benefit...I go twice a week to a class, one for only parkinson sufferers and one for all comers, I also do it each day at home via a dvd.  since I started my balance had improved and my stance.  It also help calm me down.   Another great thing is the Wii fit...it  has good balancing exercises which really help to centralise you balance as well as beiing a lot of fun....it is not only for the young


good luck




I took up Tai Chi and it has really been of benefit...I go twice a week to a class, one for only parkinson sufferers and one for all comers, I also do it each day at home via a dvd.  since I started my balance had improved and my stance.  It also help calm me down.   Another great thing is the Wii fit...it  has good balancing exercises which really help to centralise you balance as well as beiing a lot of fun....it is not only for the young


good luck


Titan, I got tired just reading about your exercise!  There was no point in my life when I could swim a mile.  But at 68 I do hike most mornings and work out at a gym, including 40 minutes on an elliptical.  I agree on the importance of fitness.

Swot, keep up the Tai Chi classes.  I've been practising  nearly three years, and two days ago it really paid off.  To keep the story brief, I found myself three steps up a ladder when one leg of it sank into the ground.  I credit Tai Chi with the fact that I was able to lean far to the other side and balance the ladder on three legs while descending to the second step and from there to the ground.  I had tested the ground for firmness, but obviously not enough!  At least I gained some confidence in my sense of balance.

Regards,   J

I never realised how bad my balance was till I went to Pilates. Considering I used to be able to do one legged push ups in my football training, it is a far cry now, to not being able to balance on one foot.

14 other ladies in the room perform like ballerinas, I perform like a weeble.......I wobble but don't fall over.

C'est la vie. I've decide to give the Bolshoi a miss this year, they'll just have to manage without me.

Hi J of Grey Cottage,

                   Think you are doing really well.I love walking up the mountains.I used to orienteer,run mountain marathons.Swimathons,last swimathon was 1996,that was a 3 mile swim for charity.Was going to start triathlons back then,but family life and work didn't allow.So now I have my own routine,All within the pd meds window of opportunity however.

                    Have thought about Tai chi for relaxation,may have to give that a go i think.Having been highlighted here a lot.

                                       Take care


Hi, Titan --

I think active people like you, who have always managed to get exercise into their schedules, feel the encroachment of PD more keenly than people like me.  Until I retired and felt I had the freedom to devote time to my body, I was most likely to have my nose in a book; I had a scholastic rather than an athletic bent.  But I always loved hiking and observing nature.  Now, even though late in life, I have learned the great value of exercise.

Tai Chi requires intense concentration for coordination, balance, and precision (movements specified almost to the inch).  Yet somehow it is also relaxing and, for those who get into the spiritual side of it, fulfilling.  It seems to me a bit like ballet -- adagios only, slow motion dance.

Best regards,


Constant exercise is important to develop and improve fitness. I prefer to use exercise bike because it promotes cardiovascular exercise and strengthen the lower body without stressing my joints.

Make enquiries about Conductive Education, I have been dx for over 10 years (age 45 now) and regularly attended CE sessions, I believe it helps to slow the progression down. I have no evidence to show you other than me!

Hi terrific I made enquiries to my neuro physio but she didn't know of anywhere in my area -Kent that offered it for adults with pd which is a shame because I read up on it and it looked really beneficial . It seems to be available in the midlands - is that where you are ? I've been referred to kings so I'm going to ask there . It would be great if it became more accessible . Thanks for mentioning it . 

I am in the Midlands, little old Herefordshire, if Conductive Education is on offer in your area just go for it, I guarantee you will not regret it. Good luck in your search for CE locally to you.