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Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, exercise is more than just healthy, it is vital. Find out more, here, in our latest blog.

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25th April 2022

Getting active in your daily life forms part of a healthy lifestyle for all of us. For people with Parkinson’s disease, keeping your body moving is more than just being healthy, it is essential to keeping your balance good, your movement steady and improving how you tackle normal activities. 

Furthermore, research has shown that many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease have slowed following regular physical activity. 

Research into exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Research from the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project highlighted that people with Parkinson’s Disease who integrated exercise into their daily life at the onset of the disease and kept up that routine for a minimum of 2.5 hours each week, experienced a slower decline in their quality of life compared with those who don’t exercise or took it up later. For this reason, it is advised that getting into an early exercise routine is very important to overall disease management.

There are a few different types of exercise that you can do to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and these cover the full range of physical activity from cardio and strength to balance and stretching. 

The American College of Sports Medicine carried out further research and states that exercise is increasingly accepted as an adjunct treatment for Parkinson’s disease, highlighting its importance. Exercise can be varied and diverse and can include simple daily activity such as walking to a friend’s house rather than taking the car, getting out on your bike, trying something new such as outdoor gym equipment, jogging, tai chi, yoga, Pilates, dance, weight training and more. They also go on to state that before undertaking any exercise, each person must seek a full assessment and plan to help them to get started in the best possible and safest way, based on their individual needs.


Find something active that you enjoy

The type of exercise you do depends on your personal preferences, your symptoms and challenges and no one set of exercises will be perfect for everyone. 

Try out different activities before you find one or more that you enjoy. Not everything comes at a cost, jogging, outdoor gyms and walking with friends are all free, out in the fresh air and natural daylight and when integrated into part of a regular routine, provide positive health benefits. 

Finding a series of exercise types that you particularly enjoy, improves not only physical symptoms but also significantly improves mental symptoms such as apathy, depression and anxiety, often associated with Parkinson’s Disease. 


Starting with exercise one step at a time

If you are more active naturally, you might like to build up to more regular or vigorous exercise and if you are usually less active, just getting up and moving around the house, cleaning, gardening or walking to the shops, will be a great start.  

An easy and fun way to start is by counting your daily steps. 

Many mobile phones count these as part of the integrated health app, or you can download a free app, or use a pedometer (step-counter) on a sport’s watch. This is a neat way to benchmark where you are now and build up gradually from there, setting small and achievable targets. Setting small manageable targets creates a sense of purpose and satisfaction on achievement of your goals, both of which support positive mental health.


Outdoor Gyms for health and fitness

At Fresh Air Fitness, we specialise in the design manufacture and installation of outdoor gyms across the UK. Our award-winning equipment has been installed by our specialist team, nationwide, since 2007. 

With over 4,000 installations to date, the Fresh Air Fitness range of equipment provides exciting, outdoor exercise opportunities for all types of location from primary and secondary schools, to residential care homes, NHS trusts, councils and communities – anyone wanting to use an outdoor gym for free at the park or in their green space. 

If you would like to find the nearest outdoor gym to you, visit our outdoor gym locator here.  

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