Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone. However, for people with PD exercise is not only healthy, but a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities. In fact did you know exercise could actually help slow the progression of PD?
David Zid, BA, ACE, APG, and Jackie Russell, RN, BSN, CNOR, are the founders of the Delay the Disease program. They are passionate about the fact that Parkinson’s disease can be managed with daily exercise, putting you back in control. This disease does NOT need to define you. Their belief in hope and inspiration for this community is a testimonial to their mission — to help provide this important tool of exercise to all people with Parkinson’s.
Physiologically, a drop in dopamine levels in the brain characterizes PD in older adults. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, appears to regulate the level of neural activity needed to start or end a movement. Lack of dopamine leads to inadequate muscle activation, resulting in slowness of movement (bradykinesia) or incomplete movement (hypokinesia). It also interferes with the ability to maintain upright posture, resulting in poor balance. However, people with PD retain the ability to increase muscle activation and can learn to perform larger and faster movements using conscious effort.
Physical activity has been shown to have a positive influence in neurodegenerative diseases, with exercise being correlated with a reduced incidence of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, and an improvement of motor symptoms in PD. It is possible that these benefits occur via mechanisms that reduce inflammation in the central nervous system, thus promoting neuronal resilience. Furthermore, animal models suggest that exercise may confer a “neuroprotective” benefit in PD, possibly delaying disease progression