Many people ask for guidance on general exercises that can be done safely at home for someone with Parkinson’s disease. It’s difficult to give wide-ranging advice as each person has individual issues, concerns, limitations or skills.
The following exercises are meant to be general ideas that may be appropriate. Please attempt them in a safe manner. Have someone stand nearby to ensure your safety, hold onto a sturdy counter or chair, and do not attempt if you are not steady.
If they are too easy for you while holding on, start slowly to progress without holding or through bigger ranges of motion.
Never cross your legs when turning. Instead, keep them apart with a wide base (10-12 inches). When turning, take small steps (rather than a full body twist).
This can be a good thing to practice. Walk towards a corner in your kitchen, turn and walk away.
Practice standing up and sitting down from a chair. Lean forward and push hard and fast with your legs.
This can be practiced with something stable in front if needed for balance.
When sitting, lean forward and bend your hips, then your knees.
While sitting upright in a chair, turn your body as far as you can to one side. Then turn to the other. This rotation in your trunk is important for flexibility and walking.
Swing your arms in a big movement forward and back.
This can be done sitting initially or if someone has balance problems. Work towards doing this in standing.
Practice “rocking”. With one foot slightly ahead of the other, rock forward onto one foot and then back onto other. Hold onto something if you need assistance with your balance.
This can be a good thing to do if someone freezes.
Work towards swinging one or both arms while rocking.
Stand with your back against a wall. Try to get both shoulder blades against the wall. Without tipping your head backwards, try to get the back of your head as close to the wall as possible.
To stretch the front of your chest, stand in a doorway with both hands about shoulder height. Lean forward into the doorway until you feel a stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds.
Holding onto a counter, put one foot in front of the other. Bend the front knee and keep the back knee straight. This will stretch the back calf. Do this on both legs, holding for 30 seconds.
Hold onto a counter or chair and practice lifting your knee like you’re marching. Alternate legs, lifting as high as you can.
As always, please consult your physician regarding any concerns with an exercise program or if starting one for the first time.
These are not components of the LSVT® BIG program. If you are interested in learning more about the BIG program, or any of our other programs, please feel free to contact us at 760-218-9961 or visit us at ParkinsonsResource.org/physical-therapists-personal-training- specialists/ See our video on our page in the Wellness Village ParkinsonsResource.org/spotlight/ new-beginning-physical-therapy/. We are the only company offering BIG in the Coachella Valley.