BIG MOVEMENTSCategory: Newsworthy Notes
Frequently people ask about the best exercises for people with Parkinson’s disease. There is not one simple thing that everyone could do and it would make a huge impact. Unfortunately, we’re all different, respond differently, have a different set of problems. However, the one thing that benefits everyone is to move their bodies. Exercise means different things to different people. To some, it means a work out at the gym. To others, it might be walking, golfing, or playing tennis. In reality, it could be as simple as dancing, or even just standing and swinging your arms.
The best piece of advice to offer is this: move frequently and move BIG. Try to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. It’s true that if you can stand up at each commercial break, your body will thank you. Any position for too long will cause adaptations in your body that aren’t always too good. If a muscle shortens in one position, it will cause a compensation somewhere in another spot of your body. These lead to inefficient movements, which can in turn lead to more fatigue and difficulty moving. To move BIG is to stretch your limits. Reach a little further. Don’t make everything easy by having your toiletries or dishes nearby. Place them where you have to shift a little to get to them. Take a bigger step. Reach to your side or behind you. Move a little further and larger than you normally would. This will encourage you to not settle within perceived limits of where your body can move. Here are a few simple things that you could consider as movement... or exercise! Standing, turn your body from side to side and let your arms swing around you. Hold a ball (basketball, soccer ball, etc) in your hands and stand up. Toss it in the air, catch it, sit down and repeat. Put some music on and shake your hips.
Can you do the twist? Take a step forward and stop. With your feet in this position (one farther in front than the other), rock back and forth between them. Toss a basketball back and forth with a friend. See if you can toss it to their side and have them catch it – they can do the same to you. Play basketball with a friend! Wash your sliding glass door by going from down low (can you squat down?) and then standing and reaching high. Wipe the dust off your car using large sweeping movements of your arms with the cloth. Stand in front of your shower curtain. Using one arm, can you move it all the way open to all the way closed with one arm, without moving your feet? These may seem like silly or simple things to do. All of them can be done without fancy equipment. Some may be things you do every day (ie. opening a shower curtain). But how you do it does matter. Don’t take small shuffling steps when you open the shower curtain or just open it partway. Make it a BIG movement by going all the way open or closed with it. You’ll get some rotation, some arm movements and some weight shift. All good things for any of us!
Stacy Hennis, PT, C/NDT, LSVT BIG certified is the founder and President of New Beginnings and can be found in the Parkinson’s Resource Org WELLNESS VILLAGE. Stacy has been a member of the Wellness Village since July of 2012 and we get only positive feedback from clients we send to her. What makes is so wonderful for the PD Patients is that Stacy will go to their home.