Daily dose of movement

Annie Rainbow, Neurophysiotherapist, has worked with Parkinson’s patients for over 15 years and runs our PD Power activity

By Annie Rainbow

People always ask ‘How much exercise do I need to do?’. Guidelines suggest to improve fitness and boost brain fitness you should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate (brisk walk) to vigorous (boxing, cycling) a week. That equates to 5 x 30 minutes per week. BUT that is the optimal amount. So don’t be put off by that and remember 10 minutes is better than none.

‘What type of exercise should I do and at what intensity’. The best activity to choose should challenge balance, co-ordination, flexibility, strength, speed and endurance. The intensity of movement should be moderate to vigorous. This means a brisk walk (not an amble around the block) or something that makes you slightly breathless (raising your heart rate). If you walk regularly make sure some of that walk is you pushing yourself and walking briskly for a minute or two. If you play golf walk briskly between holes, don’t do a Parkie walk! If you dance make your movements bigger and more powerful.

To show what I mean, try reaching your arm to the side. Now do it again but this time:

  • Open out your hand
  • Stretch your hand further away
  • See how much straighter you can make your elbow
  • Make your arm and hand ACTIVE.

That second movement is you choosing to MOVE BETTER than Parkinson’s. Try it – it feels good.

The key message is to choose something you enjoy but remember to MOVE BETTER than you think you can. Parkinson’s will want to do the bare minimum of movement but you can move better and bigger.