Other Exercises and Health Tips
Health Tips for Individuals with Parkinson Disease
- Sleep in a bed, not in chairs. Try sleeping on your stomach—this helps to stretch out your hip flexors. When sleeping on your back or side use no more than one pillow—this helps prevent a forward head position.
- Work on sleeping through the night. Avoid sleeping during the day.
- Those who find they are getting up frequently (more than once) at night to urinate or frequently urinating, more than every two hours, should consider seeing a qualified therapist who can teach pelvic floor exercises. Bad habits become permanent very fast.
- While standing at the kitchen counter for support, raise up on the balls of your feet 30 times every morning. Strengthening the gastroc/soleus muscles helps encourage better push off while walking.
- Talk on the phone and project your voice. Sing whenever you can.
- Do facial exercises by looking in the mirror everyday making funny faces at yourself.
- Do the activities you enjoy such as: golfing, boating, swimming, yard work, cleaning!! playing instruments or cards, vacationing, walking, and so on.
- Go to exercise class twice a week; stay at home only if you have the flu or diarrhea.
- There are no magical drugs, surgeries or therapists/doctors.
- Tai Chi-This is a beneficial exercise program if done according to the routine listed here. The goal of tai chi is to improve balance and practice functions, often with eyes closed. There is no aerobic component to this program but it does promote improved balance in upright standing. Many of these postures can be done by the client, such as single leg stance (30 sec) and tandem stance (60 sec). A therapist can practice these activities with clients.
- Dance- Dance can be a wonderful addition to an exercise program for people with PD. Dance promotes forward, backwards and sideways stepping. In communities/countries where treadmills are unavailable this is an excellent alternative. In Peru, dance was used because the population loves dancing. There is some excellent research supporting the use of dance in PD. We expect more on this in the future.
- Turning often becomes difficult with Parkinson disease (articles below). This is evident in a few tests administered by therapists (“timed up and go” and the “functional gait assessment”) when a client is asked to walk around an object. So the question is" how do I get better on this activity?" The answer has not been studied, but in “motor control theory,” the client would practice the activity. Clients would walk toward the right and left around objects on the floor. When working on this, therapists recognize improvement if the client takes fewer steps when going around an object. this results in increased speed of movement, further indicating improvement.