Improve Quality of Life
Research has shown that an active lifestyle prompts improvement in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. As exercise helps to maintain and improve mobility, flexibility and balance, and ease depression and constipation, regular workouts must be cornerstones of a long-term care plan. Connecting with supportive, positive people and engaging in some sort of mind-body-spirit practice are also fundamental to sustaining quality living.
Support Group: A Parkinson’s disease support group can be a great source of strength. Connecting with other people and being heard and validated by others who can relate to your experiences is uplifting. Exchanging information and stories about various wellness methods may also be helpful.
Cycling: Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that pedaling fast on a stationary bike, at speeds of 75 to 80 rpm, can substantially improve patients’ overall condition. Results were apparent with 40-minute sessions done three times a week. Those who put in pedaling time require less medication than those who don’t.
Tai Chi: The Oregon Research Institute randomly divided 195 men and women with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease into three groups. One group practiced tai chi, and after six months, participants were stronger and had significantly improved balance as compared to those in the other two groups. Those in the tai chi group also experienced a slowing of the decline of overall motor control, and fewer falls.
Yoga: Partaking in yoga’s sequential sound, breath, and rhythm practices may help individuals with Parkinson’s disease experience movement with heightened feelings of ease and control. Yoga also helps to calm the mind and mitigate stress.
Meditation: Meditation can be practiced with or without a spiritual or religious context. A practice of secular meditation can soothe the mind, develop self-awareness, relieve the body of tension, and support the nervous system. Since Parkinson’s disease affects the automatic way that the body moves, managing Parkinson’s disease effectively means becoming more conscious and mindful when in motion.
First, accept the reality that you have Parkinson’s disease. Then, make a conscious choice to define your way of life, rather than allowing your life to be dictated by physical limitations. Focus on what you can do, instead of fixating on what you may no longer be able to do. Honor your strengths and abilities. Choose a positive mindset and gratitude — you deserve the healing that comes with happiness.