A few weeks ago, I had the honor of attending a lunch to promote the awareness of the benefits of exercise on the Parkinson’s disease. The event was hosted by the wonderful Carol Walton and Amy Lemen who are excellent advocates for the disease. Parkinsons is becoming an increasingly prevalent disease, more and more people are being diagnosed daily and it’s important that we start talking about it.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
It’s a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
There are four major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Postural instability
The cause is the combination of genetics and environment. Although there are people of all ages with the disease, the single biggest risk is age. Carol said something during her presentation that struck me:
“Parkinsons is a disease, that if you don’t take care of it, it will take care of you”
This will be the 20th anniversary of the walk, the first walk was held in 1994 and last year 11k walkers and/or donors participated. This is the largest grassroots organization for Parkinson’s in the country!
How Exercise affects Parkinson’s
There are many medications and treatments for Parkinson’s disease but the least expensive and most effective therapy? Exercise! (I personally am not surprised as I use exercise as my own personal daily therapy:))
Doctors are now prescribing exercise as a part of the routine with medication. Here are some of the benefits of exercise for Parkinson’s Disease:
- Helps to relieve depression & anxiety
- Improved cognition
- Mood management
There are even specific exercise centers in Brooklyn and NYC that provide lots of exercise classes including yoga, Tai chi, dance and more!
How much exercise should Parkinson’s patients be doing?
The best exercise is the one you love doing. Patients are generally recommended to do 30-40 minutes a day/5 times a week (which exactly how much all of us should be doing!). A really perfect way to show your support for Parkinson’s Disease AND exercise is to participate in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk held in NYC every spring! You can donate, form a team and/or walk! Keep in mind that 100% of all funds go to Parkinson’s research!
Saturday, April 26, 2014
(Rain or Shine)
72nd Street Bandshell
Central Park, New York, NY
1.4 mile walk followed by fun, interactive activities with sponsor representatives