Even before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I have always been a regular exerciser. I played tennis, went to aerobics classes at the gym, worked with a personal trainer and then found yoga classes. For the past 10 years, since my diagnosis, I have been more vigilant than ever about exercise, and several years ago, added boxing for PD to my regimin.
And it worked pretty well. My PD has progressed very slowly. Off times were rarely a problem. Life was good.
And then I had surgery on my hand two weeks ago. Which meant NO exercise at all for the next 3 weeks until the stitches come out. I can’t get the dressing on my hand wet or sweaty. So the only thing I can do is walk, which is not enough for me.
About a week after the surgery, I noticed the tremors in my hand and foot were much more noticeable. Other non-motor symptoms re-appeared. As the days go by, the symptoms are becoming more apparent. The only thing I can attribute it to is lack of exercise.
I was talking to my friend, Susan, and she had a similar story. Like me, she had always exercised. After her PD diagnosis, she stepped it up and felt that the exercise really helped. And then life happened. She moved, went back east to take care of an ailing parent, and wasn’t able to exercise for more than a month. One day it all caught up with her and she “hit the wall!” Her tremors were back, other symptoms returned, and one day, she literally could not get out of bed.
Susan started exercising again and her symptoms are improving. She is not quite back to where she had been, but is confident that she will get there soon. We talked about all of the other meds that we take, and how effective they are (or not), but the one thing that we both feel is the most helpful is exercise. If we look at it as medicine, it becomes essential to our treatment for PD.
Dr. Giselle Petzinger, Associate Professor of Neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has been doing extensive research into the effects of exercise on Parkinson’s Disease and Cognition. She is a strong believer that exercise will help those of us with Parkinson’s (and the general population as well). She is currently running a clinical trial that I participated in 2 months ago. For information on that study, go to my post from March 31, Clinical Trials for Parkinson’s Need You!
I am looking forward to getting the stitches out next week and getting back to exercise. It will be interesting to see if the tremors and other symptoms calm down as a result. I feel like I have missed doses of my medicine. Now I need to take it again and hope for the best.
If you are going to the WPC in Kyoto in a few weeks, please look for me. I will be at my poster in space #649 during lunch on Wednesday, June 5 from 11:30-1:30. I would love to meet you.
Also at the WPC:
If you have some free time on Monday, June 3 before the WPC starts, and would like to help set up the Soaring with Hope exhibit, please complete the VOLUNTEER FORM (click HERE) by Friday, May 17, 2019.