6 Exercises Seniors with Parkinson’s Should Try

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Parkinson’s disease impacts balance, mobility, and flexibility. While no exercises routine can fully prevent the symptoms of the disease, certain workouts can mitigate symptoms like joint stiffening and spasms. Here are six appropriate exercises for seniors who have Parkinson’s disease. 

1. Random Practice Exercise 

While exercise is great for the body, it also impacts brain health. Because Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative condition, it’s important to try exercises that condition the mind as well as the body. Many studies suggest “random practice” exercises are particularly beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s. Random practice refers to any exercise that includes frequent changes in direction, activity, or tempo. When the movement patterns are constantly in flux, it utilizes an area of the brain most affected by neurodegenerative diseases, thus staving off further damage. Examples of “random practice” exercises include dancing, stepping over obstacles, and playing sports that require quick decision-making, like ping-pong and tennis. 

Engaging in exercises that stimulate both mind and body can delay the symptoms of Parkinson’s. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Rockwall Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

2. Forced Use Exercise 

Many seniors with Parkinson’s have one side of the body that functions better than the other side, which can lead to overdependence on the less affected side and an atrophy of the more affected side. Seniors should perform “forced use” exercises where they only use the more affected side. For example, to exercise the affected hand, they could squeeze a rubber ball, tap their fingers on specific objects, or turn the palm up and down. 

3. Paced Walking 

It’s important for seniors with Parkinson’s to get an adequate amount of cardiovascular exercise. When engaging the heart and lungs, the whole body is engaged. Cardio workouts promote muscle health throughout the body, from the core to the legs. Paced walking, or walking at varied speeds and inclines, strengthens the legs, regulates gait, and increases coordination. 

Aging adults who need help maintaining a regular exercise routine can benefit from hiring a professional caregiver. Rockwall home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

4. Modified Strength Training 

Conventional strength training isn’t the best choice for seniors with Parkinson’s, as weight lifting can increase muscle stiffness. To maintain stability, seniors need adequate muscle mass, which is why they should opt for modified strength training exercises that condition the muscles without increasing rigidity. These exercises include modified squats and toe rises. Seniors can try sitting down on a chair and standing up repeatedly. 

5. Yoga 

One of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s is postural instability. To maintain good posture and balance, seniors with Parkinson’s should do exercises that emphasize stretching, alignment, and flexibility. Yoga is an excellent way to enhance posture and stability, as this form of exercise emphasizes static postures and meditative breathing practices. The standing poses target the muscles and joints in the legs and hips, which increase functional mobility. The floor stretches increase flexibility and range of motion, which can help seniors with Parkinson’s maintain their gait. The breathing exercises are also beneficial. The meditative impact can enhance sleep quality and relieve anxiety. 

6. Swimming

When seniors with Parkinson’s don’t feel like exercising on land, they should head to the swimming pool. Whether they do laps or take a water aerobics class, the water can reduce joint stiffness and boost cardiovascular health. Because swimming requires using the arms, legs, and head simultaneously, it also increases coordination.

Caring for an elderly loved one with Parkinson’s can be overwhelming. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Rockwall, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (972) 722-7833.

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