Parkinson’s Disease is a long-term degenerative disorder that slowly shuts down a person’s motor system.
It makes daily tasks more difficult, impairs movement, and can eventually lead to death.
At present, researchers don’t know the cause of the disease, and they also don’t have a cure for it.
However, while there may not be a way to cure it, there are ways to slow its progression.
One of the best methods available is a simple one, as basic exercise has been shown to have incredible results on helping Parkinson’s sufferers live as normal a life as possible.
With that in mind, today I want to look at the relationship between calisthenics and Parkinson’s Disease.
I will explain how exercise in general can help with the condition, as well as go into great detail on why calisthenics may be the way to go.
Physical And Mental Benefits Of Exercise
While many people associate exercise with athletes or those looking to develop their physique, it can really mean any type of physical activity.
Regular exercise has a number of benefits it can provide for both the physical and mental wellbeing of the average person.
This is why medical professionals recommend people participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, to keep themselves fit and healthy.
The most obvious physical benefit to regular exercise is that it can help to improve muscle strength.
This isn’t just something beneficial for those involved in performance sports, as increased muscle strength can also help make daily activities easier, as well as make you less likely to tear a muscle.
This increase in strength will also help to improve mobility, balance, and stability. As a result, accidents like falls can be more easily avoided, meaning you are much less likely to sustain an injury.
Muscles aren’t the only thing strengthened by exercise either, as bone strength and density are both dramatically improved. This will limit the chance of breakages or joint problems, especially later in life.
The physical benefits of exercise even extend to the health of your internal organs and the functioning of your system.
It can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, help with obesity, and optimise the usage of glucose in the blood.
This can help avoid conditions like diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.
While the physical benefits of exercise may be much more obvious, the effect it can have on your mental health is equally as impressive.
This is largely down to the hormones, endorphins, and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that it releases into the bloodstream.
By improving their function, exercise can help to improve mood and limit the symptoms of depression. This is vital in optimising your mental well-being.
Beyond the release of these chemicals into your system, exercise also makes you much more tired.
This will lead to a better quality of sleep which, in turn, will boost your productivity and levels of alertness, while improving mood even further.
The Effects Of Exercise On Parkinson’s Disease
Exercise has the ability to strengthen muscles and joints, improve the function of the circulatory system, and increase aerobic capacity.
This will give you better control of your body, while the internal organs function at a higher level.
This is crucial for people with Parkinson’s disease, as all of these functions begin to deteriorate as the condition takes hold.
By maintaining as much control as possible, you can stop the disease progressing as quickly. This not only prevents you from succumbing to it as fast, but it also prevents injuries from things like falls that occur as your body begins to weaken.
Exercise And Parkinson’s Disease Progression
As Parkinson’s Disease progresses, your body begins to deteriorate, and certain functions start to shut down. This can begin with more superficial issues, such as a reduction in muscle tone, but can rapidly expand into more serious problems.
Slowly you can start to lose flexibility in joints, have decreased strength in muscles, and suffer from poor levels of stamina.
Before long, this can even lead to an inability to maintain your own balance and numerous issues arising with your cardiovascular system.
Due to how exercise can give you greater control over your body, exercise has the ability to delay, prevent, and sometimes even reverse the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
However, once the disease has progressed to a certain stage, it can be difficult to continue with an exercise plan.
This is especially true if you left it late to get started in the first place, which is why it is recommended you begin using an exercise program as soon as you are diagnosed.
Calisthenics Exercises With Parkinson’s Disease
While exercise is essential to slow Parkinson’s Disease down, sufferers need to be careful with the type of exercise they participate in, especially if they are at an advanced stage of the condition.
With mobility, muscular control, and balance some of the main functions to deteriorate when suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, any activities that involve weights can pose a great deal of risk. As a result, many are turning to calisthenics.
Calisthenics can both improve strength and increase aerobic capacity, two of the main requirements from a Parkinson’s exercise routine. Combined with the fact that calisthenics don’t require weights, it makes it a perfect option.
As calisthenics has a wide range of exercises suitable for people of wildly different abilities, it is important to select the correct exercises based on the severity of your condition.
Take things like your agility, balance, flexibility, strength, and level of muscular control into account before settling on a routine. You will then also need to pay attention to your ability as the disease progresses and adjust your routine accordingly.
As the disease affects people differently, people less experienced with exercise may be unsure of a suitable level to start at. In this instance, it is important to speak to a dedicated healthcare professional before you begin, to receive guidance on which exercises are best suited to you.
As with all forms of exercise, calisthenics works better for people the less advanced their condition is. As a result, it is advisable to begin a calisthenics routine as soon as possible after you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, to give it the best chance possible to help.
Best Calisthenics Exercises For Parkinson’s Disease
While calisthenics exercises are great for people with Parkinson’s disease, each exercise will have different requirements, which determines the exercises an individual can perform.
The following is a selection of the best options that balance the benefits the exercise can have with the smallest amount of risk.
Many people overlook the potential of walking as a form of exercise; however, it has numerous benefits, especially for someone suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
It is an incredibly low impact exercise that still has the ability to get the blood pumping around your system, improve aerobic capability, and improve muscular control.
Parkinson’s sufferers may also find it improves their flexibility, gait, and balance, as well as reducing tremors.
Due to its ability to be performed at incredibly low intensities, it makes it a suitable option even for those who are particularly old, weak, suffering from balance issues, or who’s condition has progressed to an advanced stage.
Some researchers have even suggested that walking for as little as 20 minutes per day can help to slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.
Squats are a great choice for people with Parkinson’s as they offer a great combination of potential benefits and very little risk.
Performing squats can help people with Parkinson’s to improve the mobility, stability, and synergy in muscle tension throughout the ankles, hips, knees, and torso.
It is also an exercise that has a number of variations that can be used by people of different ability levels and at different stages of the disease’s progression.
Options like goblet squats, squat jumps, and wall squats can all be used to ensure an adequate level of difficulty that will produce results.
Jumping jacks are a slightly more challenging exercise than the previous options.
That means they can provide greater benefits, but also won’t be as suitable for people who are at a more advanced stage of the disease.
While it does cause more impact on the joints, it also has a much greater potential for improving aerobic capacity.
This is an exercise that needs to be considered carefully but does provide great benefits for the right person.
Pull-ups are another more challenging exercise, although this time there is no impact added that could injure someone.
The challenge comes from the greater strength requirements to perform the exercise successfully.
This is a great exercise to include for anyone at an early stage of the disease or who is still capable of performing it.
Capable of providing great increases in muscle strength and control, it is one of the best options for slowing the progression of the disease.
Swimming is perhaps the best exercise available for people with Parkinson’s Disease.
It can improve strength and muscular control throughout the body, boost aerobic capacity, and has great effects on balance, posture, and mobility. It also includes zero impact.
Its ability to burn calories and help shed fat is also a bonus, as it will help sufferers keep their weight down. This will limit the strain on their joints and help those struggling with balance.
As swimming is an activity that can be performed at varying intensities, it is one that is an option for everyone.
That said, people at an advanced stage should ensure there is a lifeguard on duty in case they run into any difficulties.
What To Avoid When Exercising With Parkinson’s Disease
The main things to avoid when exercising with Parkinson’s Disease are exercises that feature high impact or use heavy weight.
This is because high-impact exercises can damage already weakened bones and joints, while there is a danger of dropping a weight on yourself when suffering from mobility issues.
People also need to avoid performing exercises that are too challenging for them or performing simple ones at too high of an intensity.
While pushing yourself is important, doing too much can lead to injury, which is particularly problematic from those already dealing with physical issues.
If you are unsure of anything before beginning an exercise program with Parkinson’s Disease, consult a medical professional to make sure you choose exercises best suited to your personal situation.
Parkinson’s Disease may not be curable but there are certainly ways to limit its impact, delay it progressing, and in some cases even reverse some of the symptoms of the condition.
Among the options, things like exercise and vitamins are readily available for all to use and show great promise.
Due to featuring very low impact and not requiring the use of any weights, calisthenics is one of the best options available for Parkinson’s sufferers.
It can help retain muscle strength and control, reduce the deterioration of bones and joints, and prevent a number of other symptoms.
While some of the exercises will be too challenging for everyone, there are a great range of options available with intensities suitable for everyone.
So, while calisthenics won’t cure Parkinson’s Disease or completely stop it from progressing, it is a fabulous option that very well may be the best option we have available at this time.