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Physical Therapy for Patients Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease

Physical therapy exercises that challenge patient’s to change tempo, activity, or direction (referred to as “random practice” exercise) benefit those with Parkinson’s disease. It is important to keep variety in exercise activities, this is necessary because individuals with Parkinson’s disease often have difficulty in shifting from one activity to another. Exercises that require balance and preparatory adjustment of the body are also important along with rhythmic activities such as dancing, skipping and cycling.
Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common degenerative brain disorder, after Alzheimer’s disease. More common in men than women, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is related to loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, which plays important role in controlling movement. PD symptoms typically include stiffness (rigidity), shaking (tremor), slowness with movement, and balance problems. Treatment may include medication and physical therapy.
Recommended Exercises for PD include:
  • Walking
  • Dancing (emphasizing big arm swings)
  • Sports (ping pong, golf, tennis, volleyball)
  • Aerobics (Jazzercise / Yoga)  
As one ages, more exercise must be performed to maintain muscle mass.  Muscle mass and strength allow an individual to complete daily chores and to maintain balance.  
To Maintain Muscle Mass Try These Alternative Strength Exercises:
  • Activities in a standing position strengthen legs
  • Pushing up to rise on the toes
  • Modified squats
  • Repetitively rising and sitting from a chair
  • Wearing ankle and wrist weights around the house or out on a walk
  • Push-ups or wall push-ups for arms
The best time to exercise is when mobility is best. For individuals on medication, the optimal time to perform physical therapy exercises is about an hour after taking medication. Everyone is different, err on the side of caution and find the best time that’s right for you. Many people do best while participating in activities with other people in a group.
To key to maintaining good health is to stay active and integrate exercise into your daily routine:
  • Walk whenever possible instead of driving
  • Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • Take regular 5 minute breaks 30 minutes
    lift your arms up over your head
    perform wall glides
    get up off the chair and get a glass of water
  • Avoid long periods of time watching TV and or using a computer
Consult a physical therapist to define the appropriate exercise program tailored to your unique condition. Anyone with PD should focus on posture, balance and gait as well as exercises that improve flexibility and strength to minimize the loss of motor skills.
Periodic re-evaluations are recommended as many people’s condition’s often deteriorate due to the disease affecting balance and musculoskeletal problems. Adjustments to your exercise program may be necessary to maintain optimal good health.
To learn more about treatment options for those with Parkinson’s disease contact Moriarty Physical Therapy to schedule a free exploratory examination with one of our doctors.


Moriarty Physical Therapy is the premier physical therapist provider here in the Hudson Valley with centers located near you. To find out more about physical therapy or to book your first appointment with a physical therapist, contact Moriarty Physical Therapy at (845) 454-4137.

Schedule a FREE 15-minute Exploration Visit

Come visit one of our physical therapy clinics in New York or North Carolina and one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will do a 15-minute consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you. In the consultation, we’ll help determine the source of pain and movement restrictions to see if you would benefit from physical therapy or might need the assistance of another healthcare professional. If so, we’ll make a referral and help speed up achieving your health goal.

You have nothing to lose; the screening is free! And if physical therapy could help you, we can perform the examination right then–even without a prescription–with Direct Access (covered by insurance).

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