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We all know how important exercise is to our overall health. When you are living with Parkinson’s disease, staying active can actually help slow the progression of the condition. Many of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s can also be better managed with exercise. Find an activity you like as there’s more chance you’ll stick with it. Regular exercise can help improve your strength, balance, posture and flexibility, and keep your heart and lungs healthy.

The right exercise can help people with Parkinson’s remain physically activity and reduce discomfort from pain and other symptoms affecting mobility. Exercise done in a group setting can contribute to living a more sociable and active lifestyle, and help improve sleep. It can even assist with issues that many people don’t talk openly about, such as constipation or problems with mood. 

Many people with Parkinson’s also talk of exercise as a way of taking back some control in order to manage their symptoms, with some going as far as to say it helps them “fight back” against the condition. It is recommended to do at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week.

As Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, there is no one perfect exercise to suit everyone. Professionals recommend varying the types and intensity levels of the exercise you do. This approach will help you to stay active in a way that works for you and your condition. 

If your symptoms are mild, focus on vigorous exercise such as gym sessions, running, cycling, tennis, circuit training or high-intensity workout classes. There are now many online classes that are a good option for people who are motivated by sticking to a schedule.

You may choose a form of exercise that targets specific symptoms, like balance or strength, or take a more general approach to improve your overall health and well-being. Exercises such as yoga, tai chi, pilates and table tennis are ideal for improving strength, balance, mobility, coordination and flexibility. Taking regular brisk walks and gardening are also good forms of exercise.

Remember, the best type of exercise for you is one that helps you to feel good, and remain as fit and well as possible so you can manage everyday life. 

It is important to do a variety of exercises that will work on the upper and lower body for strength and flexibility. Balance exercises are also beneficial for the management of Parkinson’s disease. Talk to a physiotherapist or your health professional who knows about Parkinson’s for more advice and to plan the right exercise for you, especially if you’re just getting started.

The University of Limerick have been kind to offer their student physiotherapists, and supervised by the course co-ordinator, to facilitate online physical exercise classes. 

For the Summer 2024 programme, the classes will run from 30th May until 4th July, on Thursday afternoons, from 1.30pm – 3.45 / 4pm. 

If you have any questions or if you are interested in joining a class, please don’t hesitate to contact info@eopd.ie.

Before the class, you will be asked to fill out a very short survey and you will be allocated a time slot for a 45 minute class. You will be sent the Microsoft Teams video call link for the class each week. If you have any questions about the Microsoft Teams video call, or would like some support with using the app, please don’t hesitate to contact info@eopd.ie. 

University of Limerick facilitate physical exercise classes for people with Parkinson’s. During the classes, UL students plan the exercises and share their exercise guide.

You can click the links below to see the exercises. Don’t forget to look at the Exercise Guide too, as it provides essential tips for carrying out exercises at home. The exercises are categorised into ‘Active’ and ‘Very Active’, in terms of your own personal ability with exercises, so please review the exercises and chose the exercises that best suit you.

Active Exercises – Class 1 

Very Active Exercises – Class 1

Active Exercises – Class 2

Very Active Exercises – Class 2 

Check out these videos of some of our members talking about how exercise helps them manage Parkinson’s.

Nigel likes kayaking and makes good use of the lakes close to his home. He finds the exercise beneficial for improving upper body strength and flexibility.

Parkinson’s hasn’t stopped Paddy from cycling. A keen cyclist for many years, he finds getting out on his bike helps him stay strong and keep his balance in check.

Yvonne started power-lifting a few years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She finds it great for upper body strength.

Fiona enjoys year-round sea swimming. She says it’s helpful for tackling muscle stiffness and staying fit.

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