For some people, exercise is an activity that is anticipated with a sense of vigour and enjoyment. But for others, the thought of exercising brings a feeling of disdain. If you fall into the latter category then expressions like “I better go to the gym” or “I suppose I should go for a walk” may sound familiar? It’s hard enough to motivate oneself to do exercise, but when you live with an illness that triggers apathy and quenches your motivation, the thought of exercising almost doesn’t even happen. That’s the prospect faced by millions of people worldwide who live with Parkinson’s.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy substitute to doing exercise but how and where you exercise may help you over the hurdles of just not wanting to do it. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of going to the gym. The thought of going to an enclosed space full of intimidating machines just doesn’t appeal to me. So, I try to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I cycle to work and walk to my local supermarket to do the shopping. On nights out, I dance, not because I’m good at it but because I know that it benefits me and makes me feel good (even if I look stupid trying to copy Michael Jackson’s routine from Thriller!) Or if you prefer the indoors, why not get your family or friends around to the house and have a go at the Nintendo Wii – this video game console has a number of games including exercise programmes that can be done at home. For more information about this and it’s relation to Parkinson’s, please click on the following link: http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/advice/living_with_parkinsons/exercise_and_parkinsons/benefits_of_exercise/parkinsons_and_the_wii.aspx

The fundamental problem for people with Parkinson’s is a lack of dopamine. However, studies have shown that exercising doesn’t necessarily increase your levels of dopamine but makes your brain use the dopamine you have more efficiently. I have trawled the Internet for articles about exercise and Parkinson’s and honestly, there are conflicting reports about which type of exercise to do is the best. Most of the studies I’ve looked at suggest that aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, swimming, dancing or yoga seem to be the most beneficial. This is classed as low intensity exercise and is recommended for a minimum of 30 minutes (or simply put, keep going till you’re out of breath!). However, the overall consensus is that exercise (no matter what kind you do) is more beneficial to sitting at home waiting for your Parkinson’s to get worse.

So, if you’re thinking, this information is great but how do I get started?? Well, look no further as we would like to invite everyone out there to come and join us for the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s “Get Active” challenge which will take place on Sunday 27th May in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin. It’s a great opportunity to kick start your exercise regime, meet us and help raise some much needed funds for Move4Parkinson’s. Please click on the following link for more information.
We hope to see you there!

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