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How Physical Activity Helps Seniors with Parkinson’s

The senior care experts at Home Care Assistance have been reading up on recent research demonstrating a link between exercising and Parkinson’s management. As a leading Bridgewater senior home care provider, we want to share the information in hopes it will help you better care for your senior loved one with Parkinson’s.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, maintaining an active lifestyle can help maintain mobility and balance, and reduce the risk of falling and sustaining injuries. Research has also shown that activities like walking on a treadmill can lead to improved symptom management. Neurologists in the NPF Center of Excellence network say those who engage in intense physical activity experience fewer alterations in the brain commonly linked to aging.

Another study conducted at the University of Southern California used mice to replicate use of a treadmill by a human. The study showed the brains of mice that exercised used dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for muscle movement, more systematically, and had improved motor behavior.

If you are a Parkinson’s caregiver in Bridgewater, get the senior you care for moving and grooving, and make sure you consult your loved one’s physician prior to starting any kind of new exercise program. The Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco is a great resource for finding a variety of suitable activities. Some of the best activities for your loved one with Parkinson’s include:

  • Dancing, walking, yoga, tai chi, and marching to music and incorporating sweeping arm swings. This group of exercises will challenge your loved one to change motion and carry out a variety of movements. These exercises will also help increase flexibility, break isolation, increase body awareness, and improve balance.
  • Swimming challenges motor learning, increases heart rate, and provides substantial cardiopulmonary benefits. Swimming is also low impact, ideal for seniors who struggle with joint pain or other aches.
  • Low-impact weight training.  Donning leg or wrist weights while walking will help strengthen muscles and increase body awareness through arm swinging or high stepping.

If your elderly relative has balance or stability concerns, never let him or her workout unattended, and make sure you or your senior loved one’s hourly or live-in caregiver is present to assist during exercise if necessary. Learn more about Parkinson’s home care in Bridgewater by calling Home Care Assistance at (908) 450-9400. Our qualified Care Managers can tell you more about the services available in your area and schedule your free in-home consultation.