Currently, exercise may be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal with which to fight PD and its degenerative nature. In addition to promoting overall physical and emotional health and well being, exercise tends to minimize some of the primary and secondary symptoms of the disease. Though exercise is not a cure, it can help people with PD maintain muscle tone and function, remain flexible, and improve overall mobility.While the precise role exercise plays in delaying the progression of the disease is still being researched, studies consistently report that those with PD who exercise regularly tend to do better than those who do not. When it comes to exercise, being younger has its advantages. Younger people are usually stronger and better able to maintain a regular exercise program over time. Many young people with PD have found that they are able to combine their exercise with grass roots fundraising efforts. From the well-known Walk-a-thons held across the country to the young men and women who have walked marathons to raise funds, finding sponsors who will cheer you on every step or mile can help you remain committed to an exercise plan.
Of course, marathons aren't for everyone! Choose the type of exercise that works for you. Whether you are walking around the block, riding a bicycle, swimming, or taking Pilates, tai chi, or yoga classes, any form of physical exercise that keeps you strong, increases your endurance, balance, or flexibility can help you manage your PD. Always check with your physician before you begin a new exercise program, and do your best to avoid injury by reviewing PD - Exercise & Safety Tips.