A 10+ Year Experience with Parkinson’s Disease and Intense Exercise – Neil Sligar

Neil Sligar’s story is worth checking out. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1998, he began a vigorous exercise program in 2000. He wrote about his experience after 10+ years.

There are at least 3 articles and 2 interviews worth viewing.

A write-up after 8 years describes his approach:
http://katekelsall.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/09/lifting-the-wei.html

Setting small targets has been critical to my improved performances. Focus on tiny gains in the near future rather than big goals in the long term. You can surprise yourself how far you reach.

To mark 10 years of intense exercise, he wrote a follow-up article at http://katekelsall.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/parkinsons-disease-and-intense-exercise-neil-sligars-10-year-experience.html

Here are a few key quotes for his lessons learned:

What have I learned?

Firstly, don’t accept the limitations others may predict, assume, or recommend because of Parkinson’s disease. I don’t, and won’t, accept that my physical capacity is any less than that of anyone else. Parkinson’s disease has been an inconvenience, not an obstacle, for strenuous, physical activity…

Read More

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Study: Weight Training Improves Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

latpulldownI’ve been working hard to regain the strength in my right arm that Parkinson’s took away from me. I’m making progress. Weight training is a key ingredient in these efforts. It is important to stress that vigorous exercise is not all about cardio, in fact, weight training is a key component.

More specifically, I’m referring to weight training as a progressive resistance exercise. This is a strength training method in which the load is gradually increased to allow muscles to adapt. The body adapts to exercise and needs to be constantly challenged in order to continue to grow and change. Essentially, this is the same basic concept we talk about with vigorous exercise, always pushing your limits.

As time progresses, you’re increasing the weight, increasing the number of repetitions between rests, increasing the number of sets, and/or adding additional exercises to target complimentary muscles.

Without a doubt, PD (and aging in general) makes this harder to achieve. But every small increase confirms that you’re getting stronger. And over time, those small increases can add up to something significant.

A few years ago, Dr. Daniel Corcos, with the University of Illinois at Chicago, led a 2 year randomized controlled trial of Parkinson’s which compared the effects of weight training vs. more general flexibility, strength and balance exercises. The conclusions were clear:

Read More

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Does vigorous exercise have a neuroprotective effect in Parkinson’s Disease?

I’ve started this topic to collect references to studies that explore the neuroprotective benefits of vigorous exercise to slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

Let’s start with a few quotes from the National Parkinson Foundation …

Research has shown that exercise can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination.

There is a strong consensus among physicians and physical therapists that improved mobility decreases the risk of falls and some other complications of Parkinson’s.

Beyond this, we know that people who exercise vigorously, for example by doing things like running or riding a bicycle, have fewer changes in their brains caused by aging.

However, when it comes to exercise and PD, greater intensity equals greater benefits. Experts recommend that people with Parkinson’s, particularly young onset or those in the early stages, exercise with intensity for as long as possible as often as possible. Your doctor might recommend an hour a day three or four times a week, but most researchers think that the more you do, the more you benefit.

Read More

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Speed bag training to fight Parkinson’s disease

I first stumbled across Dr. David H. Blatt’s website http://www.exerciseforparkinsons.com when I was searching for information about skiing and Parkinson’s. He has a number of interesting videos on his YouTube channel. But, this video is on a YouTube Channel of his friend Mark Smith.

Check it out:

David has posted additional commentary on his website:

Read More

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter