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Parkinson's Disease HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)

Exercise

Because movements are affected in Parkinson's disease, exercising may help people improve their mobility. Some doctors prescribe physical therapy or muscle- strengthening exercises to tone muscles and to put underused and rigid muscles through a full range of motion.

Exercises will not stop disease progression, but they may improve body strength so that the person is less disabled. Exercises also improve balance, helping people overcome gait problems, and can strengthen certain muscles so that people can speak and swallow better. Exercises can also improve the emotional well- being of parkinsonian patients by giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Whatever form of exercise you choose, make sure it is something that gets your muscles moving, your heart pumping, and that you can keep up with it every day. Walking, jogging, stretching, swimming, and other activities are terrific ways to help you cope with the tremor, muscle stiffness, and slow movements that may occur with Parkinson's disease. You will probably find a daily exercise routine will help you to feel better about yourself and your condition, continue functioning, maintain a good body weight, and sleep better at night. Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Do not exercise when you feel tired.
bulletDaily walking
bulletYoga or gentle stretching

Yoga is an ideal form of exercise for Parkinson's patients because of its slow movements.

bulletChi Yi

Chi Yi is a Chinese deep breathing exercise. It increases the oxygen supply in the blood and may thereby help alleviate depression. Sit with your back against the back of a chair and your feet flat on the floor. Reach toward the ceiling with both arms, inhaling deeply through your nose as you do so. Hold your breath as you ball your hands into fists, squeezing your arm muscles. Exhale slowly through your nose to a count of six as your bring your tensed arms down, crossing them on your chest over your heart. Lower your chin to your chest. Take four short breaths, completely filling your lungs, and feel your chest expand. Hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly. Repeat this exercise several times each day, concentrating on the rhythm and depth of each breath. If tremor prohibits arm or head movements, concentrate on the breathing, working toward a rate of only four or five breaths per minute. Limit practice to five minutes per day.

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