Exercise. I know, I know, some of you just groaned at the sight of the word. Far too often we put it off and make excuses as to why we can’t exercise today. “Too busy!”, “Too tired.”, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”, “What’s the point?”…
Many of us just need that extra, little push to get ourselves into a daily routine. Aren’t a fan of the gym? No problem. There are a ton of things that could be done at home; some activities you wouldn’t even realize are putting your muscles to work. Thankfully, caring.com has a slew of suggestions for those that are looking to enhance their flexibility, endurance, mood, and so much more.
Laurine Fillo, a Calgary-based photographer was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s when she was 38 years old. Staying active is important to her because, “exercise can be medicine for people with Parkinson’s,” says the mother of three. She is also the co-founder of Pedal for Parkinson’s Research, which is a Canadian patient advocacy network for educating, empowering and engaging the community. “I’m very much in the mindset of trying new things to help manage my symptoms. Yoga, cardio exercise, and dance help me feel better; so do regular massages,” Laurine adds.
If you are unsure about the intensity, duration, or amount of exercising you or your loved one can handle, always talk to your doctor. You don’t want to over-do it. Remember to keep safe. Below, we have listed only some of the exercises that Parkinson’s Canada suggests for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Want to see the whole list? Scroll down to our “Helpful Links” section after you’ve read through or just click here!
Every time you sit in a chair, make your shoulder blades touch the back of the chair. Hold for a few seconds. Try to do this three times, each time you sit down or whenever you notice that you’re slouching.
To start, stand near a table or a counter and rest your hand on it for support. Place one foot directly in front of the other. Lift your hand and try to hold the position for ten seconds. Put your hand back on the support if you need to! Repeat the exercise with the other foot in front. Build up to holding the position for 30 seconds by increasing your time in 10 second increments.
This stretch only works if you’re tall enough to reach the top of a door frame. Begin by resting your hands on the frame overhead. Keep your arms straight. Gently lean forward. You will be able to feel the stretch in your shoulders and chest area. Please, do not overstretch! If you think you need help with this stretch, ask a family member or your CAREGiver to supervise.
The goal with this exercise is to repeat the motion at least ten times, in a very slow and controlled manner. Start by sitting in a chair. Very slowly, try straightening out one leg, hold the pose, and then lower. Alternate between legs.
March! You can pretty much do this activity anywhere. Outside on a nice day, or inside to the beat of your favourite music. To begin, march normally for ten steps. Add variety by marching with long steps, or diagonal steps. March while you swing your arms as well.
It can also be done while sitting. Just march in your seat with no long steps. To build your endurance, gradually increase the time that you are walking.
*illustrations courtesy of Parkinson’s Canada Publication: Exercises for People with Parkinson’s, found online here.
Join a conversation on the Parkinson’s Support Group! Have a question? Want some advice from families, caregivers, friends, or patients? At the support group you can “vent, laugh, and come back as often as you need to feel less alone.” Quoted from caring.com, a really great place for caregiving and senior-living resources.
As we mentioned last week, don’t forget about hash-tagging your social media posts. Include “#EndParkinsons” or “#HomeInsteadSeniorCare” on your awareness advice. Keep the discussion flowing at home or work. Ask your friends, family members, or colleagues how they’re participating.
Remember Lea’s winning t-shirt design we highlighted a couple weeks ago? Why not get creative and design your own swag? Don’t stop with t-shirts! What about lanyards, bracelets, tote bags, sweaters, coasters or even fridge magnets? You could opt for a completely DIY-project, or use a local print shop. Either way, you could help raise awareness year-round by wearing what you’ve designed or by giving it as gifts to friends and family!
September 10th and 11th, the annual Parkinson SuperWalk will be held across Canada. This is the largest national fundraising event with approximately 10,000 people participating coast-to-coast. Last year alone the SuperWalk raised $2.7 million dollars for things like support services, research, advocacy and education. Since it’s inception in 1990, the SuperWalk has raised over $33 million dollars! Why not register yourself in either the Mississauga, Brampton, North Toronto, or East Toronto SuperWalks? Or, if you live outside of the GTA check to see if an area near you will be hosting a walk.