Exercise? Just move better

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

By Annie Rainbow

Don’t be put off by the word exercise – just move better.

We all know that exercise is good for us: it boosts the brain, it reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and reduces blood pressure. It helps manage weight, improves bone health and improves fitness but some of us are put off by the word ‘exercise’.

One definition of exercise is ‘a particular movement to become stronger and healthier’. I think this is a positive way to look at it. We can all move. People with Parkinson’s don’t have a loss of movement but have under-scaled movement (smaller movements). Being active is a way you can protect and improve your movement. Move better than Parkinson’s lets you.

To see the benefits you need to move better. What do I mean by this? I mean force better, bigger movements than your normal smaller Parkinson’s movement. Parkinson’s is lazy – it makes you move slower, smaller and tries to make you do the bare minimum. Don’t let it! Check that you are moving to the best of your ability not Parkinson’s ability.

For example, Parkinson’s posture: it wants to make you bent over (knees, hips, back bent as well as making your hands and arms curled in) but you can stand better than that by straightening up in you back, legs and arms and make them more active rather than just bent and inactive. You can do it!

So if you are already active then stay active but make sure you are doing it well.

If you are not active, get moving! Remember moving, otherwise known as exercise, can take many forms; gardening, dancing, walking, playing golf as well as exercise classes. Make sure it is something you enjoy and move every day.

The branch has many great activities involving movement to suit a wide range of people with Parkinson’s, depending their ability and inclination:

PD Power
Conductive Education

I guarantee you can move better than you think. Just give it a go today.