So I mentioned in an earlier post the importance of exercise in helping to keep PD symptoms at bay. Everyone should exercise, but I believe it is critical for PD patients to do so. Why? Because it stimulates the brain, increases blood flow, helps balance and posture and elevates your mood. I believe that it is the primary reason I have been slower in the progression of my disease! That and keeping a positive attitude. Yes some days are harder than others to get going, and it is ok to take days off, but over time you will notice how much better you feel!
I am not advocating you take up juggling chainsaws, but if there are some stairs, climb them. Maybe you take only one flight initially, but then add another flight over time. Get a dog (or I hear pot belly pigs are great). They are great companions and they will force you to get out of the house and walk. On your walk pick up the pace for a hundred yards. If there is a hill, don’t avoid it. Grab a bike and ride, even if just around the neighborhood. Enroll in a dance class, take yoga. There are so many articles out there espousing the benefits of exercise and improvements in PD symptoms. Don’t isolate yourself, you are capable of so much more than you think!
I have been lucky in that I have always played and had a passion for soccer. A passion which I have maintained over the last 10 years of having PD. I play in an over 40 and over 50 league which are extremely competitive. I usually get in 4 days of playing a week, 2 pick up games and 2 league games. And I am not talking for 10 minutes, I am out there for 75-90 minutes and more than holding my own (usually score 1 or more goals a game). Anyone who has watched soccer know that it requires balance, change of direction, and explosive speed. Performing these movements have helped my PD symptoms.
I also noticed that when I am crashing a funny thing happens. I have trouble walking and will shuffle around like an old man, but put a ball in front of me, and all that goes away. Something about dribbling that ball overrides that part of my brain and a different part takes over. It is amazing. I have attached a video and recent picture to show that not all PD patients are frail and that having PD does not mean giving in or giving up! The picture is from about 8 months ago (I am 50 in the picture as well as the video). The video is of me waiting for yet another brain scan in the recent clinical trial. The clinic coordinator is using her phone and I am juggling a Nerf soccer ball. I have an IV in my left arm and I have been off meds for 13 hours (crashed). Watch what I do at the end.
So I hope this provides inspiration to those who have PD or even just the average person looking for encouragement. Maybe you can help me get this message out by sharing with others, linking to this blog, etc. I am relatively new to the whole social media thing. Get out there and do it!