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What Are the Best Exercises for Parkinson's?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 July 2014
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An example of one of the best exercises for Parkinson’s disease is the “toe up,” which gets the patient to raise his or her toes when taking a step. Stretches for the neck, arms and legs are also important, although some may be difficult for the patient to perform. Other exercises for Parkinson’s include practicing being in small spaces, using small steps when turning and practicing any daily activity that is difficult.

The “toe up” exercise is one of the most important for people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. To perform the exercise, the person walks slowly while ensuring that the foot lands on the heel and rolls forward to the toe. Also, when performed slowly, the exercise can be used as a stretch for the lower leg muscles, which can help with leg cramps.

Practicing taking steps in the correct way is also important for someone with Parkinson’s. In general, the person should use short steps only when turning, and long steps for regular walking. This can take some practice, but can reduce the chance of the patient falling over.

Some everyday tasks can become hard for someone with Parkinson’s. For this reason, devising exercises for Parkinson’s that help practice these tasks can make a big difference. If, for example, the person finds tying a shoe lace difficult, then this should be practiced regularly each day. Even a small amount of repetition, on a regular basis, can make simple tasks easier to complete.

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There are a number of exercises for Parkinson’s that help improve balance. For example, the person could stand still and then practice raising the leg out to the side and the back. Small circles with the foot can also help to increase balance.

A number of other exercises for Parkinson’s are regularly used for a variety of purposes. Some, for example, are used to aid tasks such as getting out of bed. Others are used to make speaking easier. Each patient is different, so an individual exercise program typically is required for best effect. Patients can devise individual plans with physical therapists and their physicians.

Maintaining muscle strength is important for someone who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Not only can this provide more control over muscles, but it can also increase the effectiveness of medication. Exercises for Parkinson’s should generally focus on muscle flexibility as well as strength to achieve the most benefit. Professional physical therapy, although more expensive than self treatment, may better provide the maximum gains in control.

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