Parkinson's Disease

  • Parkinsonís is a neurological disease that affects the brainís ability to produce dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in the communication between the brain cells for motor control.  
  • Exercise in combination with medication can enable those with Parkinsonís to maintain flexibility, mobility and independence for as long as possible.  

Statistics
  • There are approximately 5,000 people in the Inland Northwest affected by Parkinsonís Disease, and many more who have not been officially diagnosed.

  • Parkinsonís disease affects about 1 million people in the United States.  Most begin to develop symptoms in their late 50ís or 60ís, although it can occur in younger people.  
What You Can Do
  • Encourage those who suffer with Parkinsonís disease to attend an exercise class where the activities are designed specifically for Parkinsonís patients.

  • Patients with Parkinson's showed a 35% decrease in symptoms after participating in a cycling problem, according to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, published in 2008.  Researchers at Kent State University's department of exercise science also found that exercise and movement therapies benefited patients with Parkinson's, but there remains little consensus on the optimal mode or intensity of exercise. 

    "Exercise is the hot topic in neurology and the neurology of Parkinson's disease.  There is evidence coming in that it makes a difference in slowing down the progression of Parkinson's, and it's good physically and for cognitive ability - the ability to think clearly and for better memory," says Dr. Carlos Singer, director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.  The doctor's advice?  Get moving. 

    A lot of time with Parkinson's they feel alone or  isolated, and a group exercise setting gives an aspect of social benefits.  A group class held on stationary bikes allowed patients to proceed at their own pace or take a break. (Source:  Exercise fights Parkinson's symptoms, by Howard Cohen, Tribune News Service, September 28, 2015)   

  • Rock Steady Boxing slows symptoms of Parkinson's.  You do not hear about very many people with the disease getting better; however, this boxing program is reversing the disease.  Each exercise works on a symptom - stretching is for their stiffness, footwork is for balance, punching is to steady their tremors, shouting is to counter their soft-voice syndrome, and sparring is for coordination. 

    "Boxing is just the opposite of Parkinson's. 
    Instead of shrinking you, everything is designed to pump you up.  The boxing gloves give you giant hands and a different attitude towards the world.  You get your physical courage back, and your mental courage seems to come along, said Aaron Latham. Rock Steady Boxing uses professional boxing techniques, but more gently.  It isn't a cure, but it helps greatly. 

    Ask a boxing club to learn how to teach Rock Steady, and then donate time in a ring to this program 3 days a week.  "Boxing for Parkinson's" is no-contact boxing.  They do not fight against each other, get hit, or get hurt.  a New York City teacher and coach who was depressed, hunched over and not able to walk straight, has physically improved due to camaraderie, competition and getting pumped up.  Clients are pushed hard for an hour to show them how much they can do, and to create good habits.  The clients become fighters, and that arrests the disease and often improves the disease.  The exercise improves the growth of neurons, strength, walking ability, quality of life, and changes in the brain.  It is not a cure, but people seem to improve, and it slows the symptoms.  ("Fighting back against Parkinson's - in the ring," Lesley Stahl, Sunday Morning, CBS News, November 8, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fighting-back-against-parkinsons-in-the-ring/)         
Additional Resources

Parkinson's Education

(509) 473-2490

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