Originally Posted by Bob Dawson
Thanks to Kate Kelsall, long-time advocate and den mother to us all; DBS guide and Rockyettes funny and serious dancing, for her web-site at Shake Rattle Roll, and for bringing us Neil Sligar, who ignored what he was told, and ten years ago had invented his own therapy: exercise. The world was not ready for that, but now the world is ready: sinmet is great, but it is not the only item on our "to do" list.
These points from Neil's story attracted my attention, and I would say the same things apply emotionally, as well as physically:
8. When I commenced reading Parkinson’s literature on exercise, around early 2004, the prevailing “take it easy” advice didn’t ring true. Working out intensely didn’t exacerbate my symptoms. Training at night didn’t make falling asleep more difficult. I fall asleep more readily. Symptom relief flowed from intensity, not torpor.
(my note: emotional and creative intensity as well. Not torpor.)
9. Intensity is relative to the individual’s capability. Standing and sitting ten times would be intensive for a person with advanced Parkinson’s. Intensity means “giving it almost all you’ve got.”
10. There are many ways to exercise intensely. For several years I’d meet my son daily at the railway station to drive him home. Included as part of my exercise regime was a sprint up the railway stairs. At home there can be push-ups, sit-ups, and so on. Vigorous dancing would add an element of balance, social interaction, and test thinking skills.
There you go. As long as music and dancing are included, it's all good. Gonna get out my stationary bike. Wish I had a rowing machine. I would row that thing right across the ocean, even if it is a symbolic ocean.
On Googling parkinson's disease exercise I was greatly surprised to read remarks about my exercise regime, my videos, and some of my writing.
I was diagnosed with PD and also Essential Tremor in 1998. Subsequently both conditions have been confirmed. PD is bad enough; I rarely mention my ET and take no medication for it.
I turn 67 years of age on 11 January 2013.
My exercise regime commenced in January 2000 and has continued unabated. I push myself and have never consciously exercised for Parkinson's. My exercise is for general fitness, not as therapy for PD. It’s my recreation. It’s also an opportunity to leave PD outside the door. PD drifts away as I increase the pace. It’s also a social outing where I enjoy the company of cheerful young people.
My weightlifting has been described on this site as "too risky." Let me suggest that whoever made the remark read my articles (e.g. my 2007 piece on weightlifting in Kate Kelsall's Shake, Rattle and Roll). Safety is paramount in my training practice. I never lift alone in the gym and always call for a spotter when lifting close to my maximum above my body. "Heavy" is relative. To someone who never lifts, 20 kilograms would probably be heavy. In my case, having trained for close to 13 years, I can handle up to 110kgs (242lbs) on the bench.
By the time I commenced reading about exercise and PD, my experience contradicted much that was written. Through hard training, I'm not weak despite remarks that weakness and PD go hand in hand. (Fitness professionals assure me I'm unusually strong.) I'm certainly not slow. My stationary cycling rpm go way above what solemn experts say is possible for pwp. My indoor rowing times for short distances are respectable when compared with worldwide competition results for my age. Last year a personal trainer asked me to run 3 x 150 (approx) metre sprints and described my times as "remarkable for your age."
My physical condition now is superior to what it was prior to diagnosis.
I'm Australian. A friend of mine in the U.S. has run at least 25 marathons since diagnosis. Another, diagnosed long ago, slalom skis in the mountains of Oregon. Others walked to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro last year.
Parkinson's is a terrible condition but, through intense physical training, I gain some relief. ANYONE, PWP or not, SHOULD ENSURE MEDICAL CLEARANCE BEFORE HARD PHYSICAL EXERCISE.
I take PD medication prescribed by a neurologist, no other medication, and no supplements.
Finally, "intense" is a relative term. What is intense for one person will be easy for someone else. My mantra is "Do my best. No-one can do better."