Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson’s, exercise is more than healthy: it is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and the ability to perform activities of daily living.
In fact, research from the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project shows that people with Parkinson's who exercise a minimum of 2.5 hours a week experience a slowed decline in quality of life. Establishing early exercise habits is an essential part of overall disease management.
What type of exercise should I do?
To help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s, be sure your exercise program includes a few key ingredients:
1. Flexibility (stretching) exercises
2. Aerobic activity
3. Resistance training or strengthening exercises
These elements are included in many types of exercise. Biking, running, tai chi, yoga, Pilates, dance, weight training, non-contact boxing, qi gong and more all have been shown to have positive effects on symptoms for people with Parkinson’s.
Researchers in the study mentioned above did not distinguish between what type of exercise participants did and determined that all types of exercise are beneficial. What’s important is to do it, and do it regularly. Find an exercise you like, and stick with it!
To learn more about the health benefits of exercise read any of the following pages:
- Neuroprotective Benefits of Exercise
- Exercise Research
- Tips for Becoming Physically Active
- Exercise Tips
Page reviewed by Dr. Joash Lazarus, NPF Movement Disorders Fellow, Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.