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Is Swimming Good For Parkinson’s Disease

How Effective Is Aquatic Therapy For Parkinsons Disease


A lot of exercise research has found that aquatic therapy for Parkinsons disease may be quite successful, especially in comparison to other methods of Parkinsons disease workouts and therapies.

Research studies comparing Parkinsons disease aquatic therapy and land-based Parkinsons disease therapy were published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2011. Researchers concluded that patients receiving aquatic therapy improved their postural stability significantly more.

A study conducted by Brazilian academics was published in the journal Advances in Parkinsons Disease in 2013. The study examined Parkinsons patients before, during, and after aquatic treatment and determined that the patients motor abilities enhanced after Parkinsons disease aqua workouts.

A 2012 research published in Gait & Posture discovered that patients who participated in aquatic training programs improved their hip angle, gait, speed, and stride length. Much more research has confirmed similar findings, suggesting that water treatment and exercise can help Parkinsons sufferers. Some studies have also indicated that water treatment is beneficial for Alzheimers disease and other critical illnesses.

Parkinsons Symptoms Managed Using Aquatic Therapy

Independence is a constant concern among Parkinsons patients and their family members, especially as the disease progresses. So they can maintain their independence longer, aquatic therapy specifically assists patients in the following:

  • Maintaining or regaining strength
  • Reducing rigidity
  • Increasing acceptance of physical activity

For Parkinsons patients, aquatic therapy can mitigate the above key concerns so patients can maintain or regain their independence.

Is aquatic therapy safe for Parkinsons? Warm-water therapies with temperatures between 90 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit offer patients the opportunity to work out in a protected environment, offering them reduced rigidity and increased body control. The other benefit of warm-water therapies for Parkinsons patients is a reduction of shivering compared to cold water treatments along with a reduction of pain, which makes exercising more pleasurable.

One study discovered Parkinsons patients experienced significant improvements in postural stability as a result of aquatic therapy. A separate study, conducted in 2012, found patients who participated in aquatics enjoyed improvements in:

Because aquatic therapy is exercise, it can help delay the progression of many symptoms of Parkinsons disease and may be instrumental in reducing the severity of symptoms patients currently experience. Aquatic therapy helps patients maintain a greater quality of life and longer health while living with Parkinsons.

Aerobic Exercises Like Cycling Provide Benefits

If it’s been a while since you got your bike out, it’s time to dust off the spokes and grease up the chain. For people with Parkinson’s, cycling is an excellent way to exercise, thanks largely to the fact that it delivers a comprehensive aerobic workout. Aerobic exercise is particularly important for individuals with Parkinson’s disease to do, not only because it keeps your cardiovascular system and function healthy and improves flexibility , but it also appears to have potent effects on brain function.

A study published in the Annals of Neurology examined the effects of aerobic exercise on the brain, using participants with Parkinson’s who took part in stationary bike training three times a week over six months. At the end of the study period, the results looked pretty good. Participants had notably lower brain atrophy, stronger neural connections that led to better motor skills, and better cognitive control when compared to individuals who did different types of exercise for the same period. Not bad, right? And if that wasn’t enough, cycling regularly may also improve the gait of people with Parkinson’s, according to a further review published in npj Parkinson’s Disease, with the review’s authors concluding that cycling provided an overall better quality of life.

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Walking May Prevent Slower Movement

It’s hard to think of anything better than a good old-fashioned walk. Honestly, getting out into the fresh air, seeing nature, and catching up with friends while you do so? Maybe we’re all about the simple things, but that’s our idea of bliss. And for people with Parkinson’s, a daily walk could be one of the best things you do for your condition. Walking regularly may assist in combatting the incrementally slower movement that occurs with Parkinson’s, and keep your stride length long, as it can shorten as the disease progresses . The cardiovascular workout that walking can provide can also help your motor coordination and balance.

However, walking doesn’t come without its challenges, especially for individuals who may be concerned with freezing mid-walk or a loss of balance . If this is the case, it might be worth trying certain workarounds. Using a metronome or a steady beat while you walk to may lower your chances of freezing, and taking big, direct steps can also be helpful. Other exercises, like dance or tai chi, may also improve balance, which will then benefit your walking.

Exercise & Parkinsons Research

What is Aquatic Therapy

Exercise is good for the heart and the muscles, but exercise can actually change the brain. Establishing early exercise habits is an essential part of overall disease management, which is why neurologists now recommend exercise as part of most PD treatment plans.

People with Parkinsons who engaged in at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week had a better quality of life than those who didn’t exercise at all or started exercising later.

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Hand Exercises Help Dexterity

People who live with Parkinson’s will be well aware of how their hands may be affected by the disease. One of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s is hand tremors, also known as “pill-rolling,” which refers to the motion it can cause, says the Parkinson’s Foundation. Individuals with Parkinson’s may also experience mobility changes, which can occur in the limbs and the hands specifically .

One of the best ways to combat this is through performing hand exercises to maintain your motor skills and keep your hands and fingers dexterous, says Parkinson’s News Today. Hand exercises needn’t be complicated, either. Try simply practicing picking up a small object like a coin or a hairpin using your hands and fingers, putting it down again, and then repeating . Fingertip touches are also a great way to get your digits moving. Take your hand and hold it outstretched in front of you, with your fingers spread. Then, gently touch the tip of your index finger to your thumb, and return it to the original position. Repeat the motion with your middle finger, ring finger, and pinky before cycling back up through your fingers to the index finger. Repeat as many times as you like.

His X500 Swim Spa Heats Up The Idaho Winter With Warm

Its been remarkable, Mark says. After his Parkinsons diagnosis, his doctors recommended aquatic therapy to help him regain his balance. Thats why Mark invested in an Endless Pools® SwimCross® Exercise System, a 15-foot swim spa for his backyard.

After months of daily workouts, my balance is better, without a doubt, Mark now asserts. The swim spa has delivered other benefits too for his wife, his grandchildren, and to help make the long Idaho winters all the more bearable!

After his diagnosis with Parkinsons disease, Mark turned to aquatic therapy to help him regain and retain his balance. He reports tangible results thanks to his daily aquatic therapy exercises. My balance is better, without a doubt, he now reports.

A Prolonged Diagnosis

A few years ago, Mark began experiencing tremors on the left side. Then as things started to progress, he recalls, it started going into some balance issues when I walk stepping off a step or stepping over something, that kind of stuff. And youd move slower, obviously.

It took them about a year and a half to two years to diagnose, he reports, and thats not unusual. A neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinsons disease can take many forms, with a range of possible symptoms. Once he had his official diagnosis, he was ready to act.

Choosing a Therapy Spa

Installing for Easy Access

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How Often Should I Exercise

The recommended amount of exercise for people with Parkinsons Disease is the same as those without the disease. Exercising 4 to 5 times a week for 20-40 minutes can significantly impact quality of life.

Aerobic and random practice exercises can be very beneficial for Parkinsons Disease and there are several ways this can be more fun to do regularly.

  • Join a meetup up walking or hiking group
  • Join a dancing class or yoga class
  • Put some music on while cooking or cleaning and turn it into a small exercise session
  • Bicycle ride with friends and family around the neighborhood

Sometimes it can be tough to implement the recommended amount of exercise. Here a few simple ways to get some forms of exercise in the day when you are not able to get in the aerobic or random practice exercises.

  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator.
  • Put small weights on your ankles so you exercise more when you walk around the house.
  • Walk down the driveway to get the mail or walk around the living room several times before you sit down to eat a meal.

Treating Patients With Pain Series: Parkinsons Disease

EXERCISES FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE | Occupational therapy | home exercises

PAIN induced by injury, surgery, inflammation, disease, etc. can be difficult to treat. Exploring natural options to rehab and recovery have proven successful and increasingly popular. This newsletter is the fifth in a series addressing how non-traditional methods, like aquatic therapy, can offer positive results and success in rehabilitation and recovery outcomes for patients dealing with pain.

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Reducing A Fear Of Falling

In water, the fear of falling evaporates. The biggest danger to people with gait and balance issues, gravity, is simply not an issue in the pool. The buoyance of the water can make fear of falling much less. Even if a patient does stumble, the risk of injury is minimal.

Aquatic therapy equipment, such as HydroWorx therapy pools, comes with support bars and other tools to offer added assistance for those who require it. The pool becomes a safe and supportive place for therapy and exercise. Patients can work with physical therapists with the added confidence of knowing falling is less likely and there are bars and other safety protocols in place to help them even if they do lose balance temporarily.

Waters buoyancy immediately renders anyone submerged to feel lighter than he or she would on land. Depending upon the level of submersion, up to 80-90 percent of a clients body weight could be counteracted. Thus, a 200-pound man would move as if he only weighed 20-40 pounds. As a result, his movements would take less effort than if he were doing the same movements in a land-based environment.

Should I Talk To My Healthcare Provider Before I Start Exercising If I Have Parksinsons Disease

Talk to your neurologist and your primary care provider before starting a new exercise regimen. They can:

  • Counsel you on how intense your exercises can be.
  • Recommend exercises appropriate for your individual health.
  • Refer you to a physical therapist to create a personal exercise program.
  • Warn about exercises to avoid based on your particular challenges or limitations.

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Mental Exercises Are Essential For Cognitive Function

Although it’s often easy to forget it, exercise isn’t just physical. Keeping our minds as well-conditioned and agile as our bodies is vital, especially for people with Parkinson’s disease, as the condition can contribute to impaired cognitive function. And mental exercises are a great way to do that, particularly to keep your memory robust, as the Cleveland Clinic states.

Luckily, too, mental exercises generally aren’t a chore to do. In fact, you can get a mental workout while playing games with your friends. Board games like chess work your brain by forcing you to think about strategy, and keep your memory sharp through remembering rules, says the American Parkinson Disease Association. Trivia games can have a similar function, while reflex games can help keep your reflexes and coordination sharp. For an exercise that tests your memory, try setting a timer for one minute and name as many colors as you can before the clock runs out . If that’s too easy, try doing the same exercise with department stores, car brands, spices, or whatever you like!

Wintertime Physical Activities For Parkinsons Sufferers


Yoga Yoga and in particular, adaptive yoga, is an extremely popular hobby for many people at the moment including individuals suffering from Parkinsons. As well as being incredibly good for anyones mental well-being, this form of exercise promotes strength, balance, helps with mood and sleep as well as flexibility and mobility all of which can be adversely affected by the Parkinsons Disease. Whats more, because yoga can be done indoors and outdoors, it can be maintained throughout the winter months.

Theatre & Dance Getting involved in theatre and dance can be incredibly good exercise as well as a great way to get out and be sociable. Perhaps the best thing about this type of physical activity is that it doesnt really seem like exercise, so you can burn the calories and get into great shape without even realising it. If you are interested in participating in a dance class, perhaps you have always fancied taking up Ballet there are a number of options that can be found on the Parkinsons website.

Alpine/Nordic Skiing Although some forms of skiing could be a little painful for sufferers of Parkinsons, Alpine and Nordic skiing is predominantly downhill and used fixed-heel bindings. Getting to the top of the hill is achieved via cable car making it a lot easier than cross country skiing. This makes this pastime ever so popular for skiers of any ages and skill set, and its also lots of fun!

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What Parkinsons Symptoms Can Improve From Exercise

Research has shown that exercise can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination. Exercise such as treadmill training and biking have all been shown to benefit, along with Tai Chi and yoga.

Studies have shown that:

  • Engaging in any level of physical activity is beneficial for movement symptoms.
  • For people with mild to moderate PD, targeted exercises can address specific symptoms. For example: aerobic exercise improves fitness, walking exercises assist in gait, and resistance training strengthens muscles.
  • One study showed that twice-a-week tango dancing classes helped people with PD improve motor symptoms, balance and walking speed.
  • Exercise may also improve cognition, depression and fatigue. Research is ongoing in these areas.
  • People who exercise vigorously, for example running or cycling, have fewer changes in their brains caused by aging.
  • Working With A Physical Therapist To Create An Exercise Plan

    Physical therapists are experts in getting people moving. While most people think physical therapy is just for rehabbing after an injury, its an important part of preventive care and treatment for patients with chronic conditions like Parkinsons disease.

    Your experience with Parkinsons disease is unique. A physical therapist can help with Parkinsons by designing a personalized program for you. Theyll teach you specific exercises to manage your unique symptoms and keep you engaged in activity.

    How often should you meet with a physical therapist? Checking in at least once or twice a year can help you develop an exercise plan that fits with your current level of mobility and the season.

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    Why Is Exercise Important If You Have Parkinson’s

    If you have Parkinson’s, it’s vital to remember that while exercise might seem daunting at times, it has a huge number of benefits. Exercising when you have Parkinson’s can assist you in maintaining the standard of life that you’re accustomed to, keeping your muscles and cardiovascular system in check, and therefore keeping you mobile, stable, and healthy . As research published in JAMA Neurology states, taking part in exercise gives people who have Parkinson’s a sense of control and ownership over the management of the disease, which is crucial for a long-term condition that individuals live with day in and day out.

    All of these benefits add up to big results. As the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project found, exercising regularly has the potential to slow the progression for the disease and allow individuals to live a better quality of life for longer . Trying to achieve roughly two and a half hours of physical activity a week is the optimum for this, although it should be pointed out that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to exercising with Parkinson’s. The type of exercise you can take part in, and which will be most beneficial, will depend on your specific symptoms and situation.

    Foods That Are Hard To Chew

    What is Parkinson’s disease? | Nervous system diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

    Another Parkinsons symptom is difficulty chewing and swallowing. In fact, its estimated that 80% of people with this condition experience difficulty swallowing as the disease progresses .

    Choosing foods that are easy to chew and swallow may be important, as may working with a speech language therapist.

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    Neuroprotective Benefits Of Exercise

    Neuroprotection is when your brain works to prevent the death of neurons, or brain cells. For people with PD, exercise is not only vital to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities, but it has the potential to have a neuroprotective effect.

    The Parkinsons Foundation studied exercise as part of our Parkinson’s Outcomes Project study. Our Center of Excellence network believes that exercise is important to good outcomes in PD, and data supports that. Exercising enhances the sense of wellbeing, even across different disease stages and severities.

    Swimming Against The Current: My Dads Fight Against Parkinson Disease


    For years, something wasnt adding up with my dad.

    It started with a few missed classes when the collegiate runner, exercise enthusiast, and PhD in mathematics lost track of time. Then came the bike crashes one severe enough to require a life flight to a local trauma center. His erratic heart rhythms and neurological exams conjured a range of diagnoses from cervical myelopathy to seizures, to simply being stereotyped as the absent-minded professor.

    When we found out he needed a pacemaker, we had high hopes that his mysterious ailments were solved and that he could move on with a healthy and active retirement.

    It was hard to ignore the changes in his walking, the stooped posture, and shuffling gait, but my father was still running and swimming. At the time we were still unsure of his diagnosis.

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