Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Exercise and PD

I think most PD patients are aware that one of the best things they can do (and that they have control over) is exercise.  Regular exercise (what is right for you should be determined by you and your movement disorder specialist) can slow progression of the disease and even diminish symptoms in some cases.  Right now the emphasis seems to be on exercise that pushes you beyond what you would normally do.  Just yesterday we had a presentation at my local support group about how walking poles can help you walk faster and minimize fear of falling using nordic walking techniques.  The poles can be purchased at WalMart or Target for about $20 and are adjustable in length.  Adjust so that when you hold them your forearms are parallel with the ground.  Use them to push off with as you walk by planting them next to you and then pushing backward.  The rubber tips provide good traction.  Do not extend the poles forward before pushing back as this promotes leaning forward.  Try to stay in an upright position!  I bought a set for myself today and tried them out this morning.   I was amazed at how much faster I could walk without balance issues!  The poles can also be used to help with freezing or getting up from a chair indoors.  Talk to your doctor, or better yet, your physical therapist about how you might benefit from using these poles.

The Davis Phinney Foundation is a major proponent of the benefits of exercise.  Their programs have helped many of us by encouraging us to exercise and providing resources to assist us.  I support their valuable work and would like to pass along this appeal (which I will support):

The Davis Phinney Foundation is in the final push of a mini-fundraising drive this month, in conjunction with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge taking place around the state this week.   If everyone who reads this blog donated just $10, we’d reach our goal in no time at all.   Details can be found at

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