From a personal perspective…

Exercise and Parkinson's Disease

MOLLY is a physiotherapist with special interest in neurology, helping people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

I’ve decided to pause from the series of articles on the seven core principles of PD Warrior and look at the experiences of my past/present clients. There’s nothing like a real-life story to put into context all the theories of PD Warrior, and my interview with Mr. A below is a classic example.

Brief background: Mr. A is a gentleman in his mid 50’s with early onset Parkinson’s. He is in part-time work, and enjoys walking and table tennis. He has completed a series of introductory sessions and currently doing his 10 Week Challenge. In this inter-view, he gives us a brief insight of his condition and his journey so far.

What was your main reason for signing up to PD Warrior? What do you aim to achieve?

I believe that exercise is one way of slowing down my Parkinson’s. Exploring online, this (PD Warrior) seemed a very structured exercise course specifically aimed at Parkinson sufferers. I want to ensure I stay active and slowdown any deterioration for as long as possible. I hope this exercise will help with that.

What is it about your Parkinson’s that bothers you the most?

It varies week by week, as some things tend to be better and other things worse. It’s probably when the stiffness causes pain in my arms, shoulders, and back that bothers me the most but I also get frustrated by lack of dexterity and inflexibility. It’s also frustrating that I can no longer play tennis or ski.

What is the best thing about completing PD Warrior program?

It feels good to be fighting back. I’m confident the exercises I do are making a difference. I feel it’s challenged me both mentally and physically and I definitely feel it’s making a difference.

Do you have a favorite exercise, or a particular one you don’t like?

Not really, I like the variety. I usually find when we are halfway through the session it feels tough and then the end usually comes quicker than expected.

What impact has PD Warrior made in your life so far?

I wouldn’t say it’s made a dramatic difference but I think it’s a key step in keeping my condition stable and also makes me feel more positive that I can fight back. I can see myself improving in the exercises and I like that its both a mental and physical workout.

Do you have any words of advice to other patients with Parkinson’s disease?

I would strongly encourage everyone to do as much exercise as possible. I think PD Warrior is a really enjoyable way of exercising, and because it’s varied and more fun. I find it easier to ensure I complete a routine almost every day. To new sufferers I’d say don’t despair, or allow yourself to be ruled by your Parkinson‘s. There is still a lot of fun to be had from life but it is important to take steps to ensure the disease progresses as slowly as possible. PD warrior is definitely helping me, and my physio, Molly, makes the sessions both fun and exhausting.

The motto of the PD Warrior community is to help people to fight back and live their lives to the fullest despite having Parkinson’s. So be empowered. Parkinson’s doesn’t have to define you. The more you believe in your abilities, the more you will be able to achieve.

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