The most effective mental state for people with Parkinson’s disease is optimism and ‘feeling normal’. Keeping this in mind, an exercise plan for such people living with parkinson’s and those who are not, should not vary all that much. According to general health requirements, every individual and thus, patients with Parkinson’s disease should indulge in exercise, four to five times a week for as long as 30-40 minutes each session. Both the American Heart Association and The American College of Sports Medicine recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of intensive exercise. The entire period of exercise should be made as fun as possible, without the stress of following an extreme or intensive exercise routine. Engaging in group exercises such as movement and dance classes is one of the best ways to ease the overall process.
How often, and what to do every day?
There are no clear-cut rules to be followed by patients with Parkinson’s disease that underline the frequency and intensity of exercise every day. However, incorporating certain tasks in everyday life can help individuals reach the level of exercise required in terms of quality and quantity.
Molding your everyday schedule according to the following tips will meet the requirements of the desirable frequency of daily exercise for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
- If you are not going for dedicated exercising sessions several times a week, it is best to increase the time you spend in walking, instead of remaining inactive or using other means of transportation.
- Taking the stairs as frequently as possible may help increase the flexibility of joints and provide a good source of exercise.
- No matter how often you exercise, patients with Parkinson’s disease should always take frequent and regular breaks of 5 minutes, most preferably, after every 30 minutes.
- As much as it is important to exercise every day, staying inactive for longer periods being involved in activities such as watching TV or using computer is strongly discouraged. No matter how often you exercise, staying inactive nullifies the positive effects of your efforts spent in exercise.
Cool-Down Period for Patients with Parkinson’s
Although, it is beneficial to follow a regular exercise pattern every day, patients with Parkinson’s disease also need to take into account the major physiological changes in their body, over the course of the disease. The decreased body movements, compromised cardiocasular system, and disturbed psychological state, limits the requirements of how often they should exercise. While exercise is a proven therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease, regular cool-down sessions are also very important for them.
After every session of exercise, patients should allow a longer cooling down time, as compared to normal individuals. Similarly, people who used to exercise before developing Parkinson’s disease should change their exercise plan accordingly. The importance of cooling down period is two folds:
- It helps to decrease the heart rate slowly. This is specifically important for patients with Parkinson’s disease because of the compromised functioning of their cardiovascular system.
- It helps the muscles to cool down gradually, which prevents muscle stiffness, a major complaint of people with Parkinson’s disease.
How often you exercise in Parkinson’s disease should depend on the question of ‘how good do you feel?’ Work hard and push yourself, but don’t over do it. After you exercise, monitor how you feel for the rest of the day and the day after. Gradually you will discover the proper volume of exercise, which will allow you improve your function and manage your symptoms more effectively