Walking for Parkinson’s Disease

Over the past few years I have developed an interest in Parkinson’s disease. How it occurs, how it progresses and what can be done to treat the condition. I have been fortunate enough to work with a great group of exercise physiologists that share this interest and have a passion for treating and educating people suffering with Parkinson’s disease. This year Absolute Balance will be taking part in the Parkinson’s walk in the park, on the 15th of September. The Absolute balance team are proud to raise awareness of this condition that takes its toll on many families, with the goals of educating people on the benefits of exercise and its effect on the progression of the condition.

We have previously posted blogs on how exercise can improve physical capabilities and maintenance of cognitive function, but we haven’t discussed what Parkinson’s Disease is. Parkinson’s Disease is a common neurodegenerative condition caused by the death of the population of dopaminergic neurons. It is defined as a movement disorder affecting approximately 2-3% of those over the age of 65 however many suffers also experience a range of non-motor symptoms such as autonomic dysfunction, cognitive/neurobehavioural disorders and sleep abnormalities.

There are four main clinical features of Parkinson’s disease:

  • Tremor: resting tremor is the most common and easily recognised symptom. They can be unilateral or bilateral and usually present in the distal part of the extremity i.e the hand.
  • Rigidity: characterised by an increase in resistance through range of motion.
  • Bradykinesia: refers to the slowness of movements, which can also lead to difficulty planning, initiating and executing movements.
  • Postural instability: changing of postures such as having a flexed neck and trunk.

Although these above four are the main clinical features of Parkinson’s disease, sufferers may also experience fatigue, autonomic dysfunction, depression and cognitive deficits, dementia (40%), small handwriting, stooped posture, shuffling gait and loss of arm swing. All these correlated factors have a massive impact on the individual themselves.

If you are wanting to know more about Parkinson’s Disease and how exercise and assist with daily living and maintaining functionality come and join the Absolute Balance team on the 15th of September for the walk in the park .

Alternatively, come into our Como Clinic and speak to one of our exercise physiologists and we can assist you.

Claire Hills ( B.EXSpSc,Grad.Dip.(Clin.Ex.Phys))
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)

Reference

Williams-Gray, C. H., & Worth, P. F. (2016). Parkinsons disease. Medicine44(9), 542–546. doi: 10.1016/j.mpmed.2016.06.001

 

Jankovic, J. (2008). Parkinsons disease: clinical features and diagnosis. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry79(4), 368–376. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2007.131045