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4 Exercises for Seniors with Parkinson’s

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on July 27, 2015

Even though Parkinson’s cannot be cured, there are ways that seniors can try to manage and slow their symptoms. If your elderly loved one has Parkinson’s disease, implementing an exercise routine can help him or her delay the progression of certain motor symptoms. To help your loved one manage his or her symptoms, Home Care Assistance in Phoenix discusses four exercises for seniors with Parkinson’s.

1. Stretching

For seniors with Parkinson’s, stretching is very important, helping prevent the muscles from stiffening. Each stretching session should begin slowly and smoothly. Have your loved one sit tall in a chair and turn in each direction until the back feels stretched. Have him or her repeat the same motion in the opposite direction. Stretching ensures that he or she maintains as wide of a range of motion as possible and helps keep the joints and muscles limber.

2. Walking

Walking is a great form of exercise for seniors in the first three stages of Parkinson’s, increasing the body’s range of movement and flexibility, while also helping the body release toxins through sweat. This exercise is particularly great because it can also offer a period of relaxation, enjoyment, and bonding if a family member or Phoenix Parkinson’s caregiver goes with your loved one. For the best results, walking should be done after some light stretching and should start at a slow, comfortable pace before working up to a more challenging speed. An added benefit, walking will help release feel-good hormones.

3. Strength Training

While strength training is typically reserved for bodybuilders, there are many benefits for seniors too. Though dumbbells are cumbersome and may fall on senior toes, elastic resistance bands can achieve similar muscle-building results. To start, give your loved one a resistance band and have him or her hold onto each end. Then, have your loved one pull his or her arms apart and bring them back together in a controlled manner. Squats and lunges may also be a great muscle building exercise for the lower body, increasing muscle mass and your loved one’s stability and mobility.

4. Swimming

Not only can swimming be lots of fun, it can also offer countless health benefits when done regularly. Since the water absorbs most of the impact, your loved one can swim without putting stress on his or her joints and muscles. If your loved one is a strong swimmer, challenge him or her to complete a few fast laps to increase his or her heart rate and condition his or her muscles. This type of exercise can help increase and maintain your loved one’s mobility, as well as his or her independence.

For seniors who have Parkinson’s, there are a number of ways they can help maintain a high-level of mobility. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers can assist your loved one with these exercises to help ensure they are done safely and correctly, as well as with a number of other routine tasks, including cooking, cleaning, and navigating the home. To learn more about our senior care services, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care in Phoenix, give a Care Manager a call at 602.388.1085 and schedule a free in-home consultation.