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Parkinson’s disease: Move regularly with intensity to delay symptoms

Medical Research Cropped

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, second only to Alzheimer’s disease, according to Medical News Today. The condition affects people of all races and cultures. Globally it affects around 10 million individuals who are generally over 60 years of age, but it can occur in younger people.

Symptoms include:

  • trembling of the face, legs, arms, or hands
  • rigidity or stiffness in the limbs and trunk
  • slow movement with balance and coordination issues
  • cognitive decline in the later stages of the disease

The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but experts believe it develops due to genetic and environmental factors. Research has found that symptoms arise because of the death of dopamine-generating cells in the part of the brain responsible for movement, reward, and addiction.

A recent study in Neurology shows that regular exercise can change the progression of PD. The study led by Dr. Kazuto Tsukita found that overall regular physical activity had a significant effect on the balance and stability of the participants. Patients with PD who took 4 hours of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each week had a slower decline in balancing and walking compared to those who took less exercise.

This news is nothing new to the members of a boxing class at the YMCA in Tuscaloosa. The program goes through nine workout stations in about 30 minutes. Each station aims to improve the participants hand-eye-coordination, balance, and overall mobility.

“I noticed a difference between this and other. The more active you are the better off you are,” said class participant Hank McKinley. “Yeah, this has been a good experience for me.”

Parkinson’s is a complex disease. It can be difficult to find exercise classes structured specifically for Parkinson’s patients. Cecil said it took him a year to find a program.

“After I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease my wife and I did some research and found this boxing class,” Cecil recalled.

Riley Strickland teaches the class.

“I didn’t know much about it until I came in to the Y and heard about this and got to talking to the members, Strickland said.” I learned so much and I’m still learning from the members in the class.”

To join the class the participants must get doctor’s approval as well as be assessed by the class instructor for class placement.

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