Fun Summer Exercises for Young Students with Movement Disorders

When people think of the various movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, they usually envision an elderly man or woman. After all, Parkinson’s is mostly common among people over the age of 50. However, young “college-aged” people—those roughly between 21 and 29—can get diagnosed with the movement disorder at their ages too.  While those with “young onset” Parkinson’s disease typically have a slower progression of the disease because they’re generally in a healthier state, young people can be active in slowing the progression and reducing the impact of PD symptoms through regular physical exercise. As an article on the website of the National Young Onset Center of the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) begins “The one of the most powerful tools….with which to fight PD and its degenerative nature.”

Not all exercise needs to be done within the confinements of a campus gym. To learn a few physical activities that can benefit you this summer, continue reading below.

Swimming

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first—a dip in the pool can help relieve you from the sun’s rays this summer, but it can also help relieve you of some of your movement disorder symptoms. Plus it’s free if you have access to a neighborhood pool or are fortunate to have one in your backyard. The true key to getting the most out of your swim however is periodically changing your strokes, speed, and opening and closing your eyes. This will not only help challenge and strengthen your motor skills, but this kind of physical activity can also increase your heart rate much quicker and help condition your lungs. Remember that sticking to lap swimming alone is not recommended because it forces you to be somewhat automated, which isn’t good for your condition.

Zumba

This Latin fitness dance craze can be found in just about every gym across America, but if you want to reap the health benefits while enjoying some fresh air, there are hundreds of instructors who teach their Zumba lessons outdoors at local parks. Do a little Internet searching and you’re likely to find one near you. Zumba is beneficial because it changes both tempo and direction, which is a type of exercise you need to properly enhance your motor skills. Warning: it can be a tad bit vigorous for some, but you don’t need to work at the same pace as other students.

Beach Volleyball

Last but not least is playing recreational beach volleyball. Like the other two forms of physical activity mentioned above, playing a light game of volleyball can help move and stretch various muscles in your body since it requires you to move around quite a bit.  Volleyball also helps with balance and adjustment. So the next time you take a trip to the beach, get in a game or two.

College Students with Parkinson's disease playing Volleyball

 

About the Author
Nadia Jones is an education blogger for onlinecollege.org. She enjoys writing on topics of education reform, education news, and online learning platforms. Outside of the blogging world, Nadia volunteers her time at an after school program for a local middle school and plays pitcher for her adult softball team. She welcomes your comments and questions at nadia.jones5@gamail.com.

 

 

 

Using Video Games as Parkinson’s Therapy

Video games aren’t just for kids anymore. Movement heavy game systems, like the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 Kinect, are the newest therapy treatment for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. But how do you go from bopping bad guys to therapy? Well…

The Wii is the first game system designed to make you move. With a movement sensitive remote control and active games, it can do almost anything. Additional parts, like a balance board and even a ‘skateboard’ can help PD sufferers with essential balance therapy.

The Xbox Kinect system is a good match for therapy for several reasons. It does not require the use of a remote, which is great news for those with trouble gripping. Instead, the Kinect uses your body as the remote, reading your movements and translating them onto the game screen.

But why go to all this effort? What’s wrong with traditional physical therapy? Well, for some it is simply too expensive. In this economy, with all the insurance issues, some people cannot afford traditional therapy. At least not as often as they need it. Also, transportation is an issue for some patients. So, why not offer a solution that they can do right in their own home.

Not only do video games allow patients to get therapy in their homes whenever they want, the games also encourage them to do more therapy then they would normally. Incentives such as points, stars, and levels help patients see what they are accomplishing, and the extended range of motion comes along with the added points.

At the University of California, researchers noted these improvements in the participants of their study. After 12 weeks of exercising with the assistance of video games, patients reported gains across several ranges of mobility:

  • 65% had longer strides
  • 55% had increased gait velocity
  • 55% reported improved balance

Patients also reported that they completed the exercises more frequently because they enjoyed the activities and perceived improvements to their health.

“The games require visual perception, eye-hand coordination, figure-ground relationships and sequenced movement, so it’s a huge treatment tool from an occupational therapy perspective,” says Dr. Herz, of the Medical College of Georgia.

The mental stimulation of video games cannot be ignored either.

Author and game designer Jane McGonigal believes that video games offer many benefits. She believes that “gaming is…one of the most productive ways we can spend time.” Her 2011 book “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” declares that games do a better job of provoking positive emotions, leading to achievement and positive reinforcement. McGonigal goes so far to prescribe an hour of gaming per day.

Keeping your mind and body active are the major obstacles confronting movement disorder sufferers. Video games might just offer a solution for that.

 

About the Author:

Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing business internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to: katecroston.croston09@gmail.com.

 

Cycling away Parkinson’s tremors

Theracycle 200

If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s disease, I hope you’ve read our
eBook A New Therapy Brings Hope & Results to People with Parkinson’s Disease.

As a follow-on to that hopeful eBook, in February, we posted the first (of several to follow) personal accounts of people living with Parkinson’s Disease — the story of Dave Davenport.

Dave’s story and those of five others who’ve been riding a Theracycle and seeking substantial reductions in their PD symptoms are included in our newest eBook titled “First-person accounts of people now living better with Parkinson’s disease.”

If you’re interested in getting a copy of our “Living better with Parkinson’s disease” eBook, send me an email and I’ll be happy to send you one: pr@exercycle.com

From that eBook, here’s a first-person account from Deb Snow of Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with PD 5 years ago, but who tells us riding her Theracycle has helped her to “do everything I used to do.”

Read on for Deb’s story…

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Life, Love, Relationships + Parkinson’s Disease

Kim & Rich Rosek

This week (first week of March 2012), Kim and Rich Rozek — the husband/wife team behind PD Talk Live!— are debuting a new weekly reality podcast on living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD):

Drawing on their experiences (since Rich was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s circa 10 years ago,) the “Life, Love, Relationships and Parkinson’s” podcasts will give the couple’s personal perspective on living a high quality life and maintaining a successful marriage as they’ve navigated their family’s PD voyage.

Since Kim and Rich have “been there, done that,” they’re uniquely qualified to provide insights worth hearing.

To hear the podcasts and learn more about/and from Kim & Rich visit their Parkinsons.me website. Be sure to follow Rich on Twitter: @pdtalker.

Given that people are riding Theracycles across the country to alleviate their Parkinson’s symptoms, we look forward to listening!

Jim Wong: “How I Survived 18 Years of PD”

Californian Jim Wong was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 42. Since his diagnosis he’s been a tireless champion for others with PD –someone we truly admire.

Educated as a bio-scientist at Princeton and Yale, Jim’s the past President of the California Parkinson’s Group, whom The Theracycle Blog has applauded in previous posts for its initiatives in PD dialogue, advocacy, education, and clinical participation.

Jim will be 61 in 2012, here’s his thoughts on how he survived 18 years of PD so far, with his recommendations for the  “Top 10 Things to do if you think you might have Parkinson’s, in chronological order”

Published originally on the Parkinson’s Movement Health Unlocked Blogsite in his article “How I survived 18 years of PD so far,” here (courtesy of Jim Wong) is his hard-won advice…. Take heed!

——————–

Top 10 Things to do if you think you might have Parkinson’s, in chronological order



By Jim Wong

1. Get every insurance policy you can (Life, Disability, Long-term care)

At the moment you are diagnosed, you lose all chance of getting more coverage.

2. Find a Movement Disorders Specialist 

You need an expert- not just your primary MD or a neurologist.

3. Optimize your living and working conditions for your best performance and safety 
An Occupational Therapist or Social Worker can survey your environment.

4. Find a local Support Group that suits you 

It helps to be with people who are walking in your shoes.

5. Participate in clinical trials 

I take 7000 pills a year, because people stepped up to test them. Pay this forward.

6. Keep a positive attitude 
Exercise, exercise, exercise – physical and mental;
Use it or lose it.

7. Tell people about your condition 
Don’t suffer alone in silence; Accept help when you need it.

8. Don’t work too long 

You will certainly do this.

9. Don’t drive too long 

You will certainly do this too.

10. Stay educated about the latest Parkinson’s research & therapies 

Everything is on the Internet, somewhere.
Knowledge is power and hope, day by day

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“Top 10” Blogs: Best Blogs on Movement Disorders

One of the principal purposes of The Theracycle Blog is to identify helpful online resources for people with movement disorders. In that vein, here’s a post from guest blogger Alvina Lopez with her take of the “Top 10 Blogs on Movement Disorders.” As Alvina herself admits- this is an ‘admittedly incomplete’ list, we’d love to hear from YOU about other blogs that you’ve found and would like to share with the community.

Read on for Alvina’s listing of “Best Blogs on Movement Disorders”

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Bookmarks for Parkinson’s e-Patients

 

e-Patient Dave

ePatient Dave (aka Dave DeBronkart) is one of my personal heroes. While many pay lip service to helping patients to help themselves– Dave is a synonym for “patient advocate,” who through his myriad activities, speaking engagements and informative epatientdave.com website is a tireless champion for patient engagement and source of ideas and inspiration on how to use the Web for better patient outcomes.

This week Dave up a post on his website on e-Patient Resources for Parkinson’s Disease, which provides some basic info that’s worth a look from anyone interested in PD. As I’ve known Dave for several years, I reached out to him to provide a more in-depth (but, admittedly incomplete) listing of some of the top online resources for people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as PD caregivers and professionals. Here’s (for those who follow The Theracycle Blog) is the list of Bookmarks for Parkinson’s e-Patients, that we prepared and sent to ePatient Dave…

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Resource Guide for Young Onset Parkinson’s

While the average age of onset of PD is estimated at 60 years of age, between 5-10% of Parkinson’s patients contract “Young Onset” Parkinson’s disease (between the ages of 20 and 50).

The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) is the only Parkinson’s association in the U.S. with a Center dedicated to meeting the needs of those with young onset Parkinson’s disease.

The Theracycle Blog went to Julie Sacks, LCSW — Director, APDA National Young Onset Center in Winfield, IL (USA) for her advice and insights for the YOPD population:

Julie shares this comment:

“Discovering that you have Parkinson’s disease, especially when you are young, is overwhelming. Even if you’ve suspected it for some time (and it’s a relief to finally know what you’re dealing with) a confirmed diagnosis is still a shock and many people don’t know where to turn for support.”

In addition to educating people about the disease itself, the APDA National Young Onset Center ( http://www.youngparkinsons.org) has an online Resource Guide that consists of low-cost or no-cost programs and services available to help people manage other areas of concern such as: healthcare, mental health, insurance, employment, disability and finances.  It is easily accessible online at www.youngparkinsons.org/resource-guide.

This Resource Guide was created in order to direct people with Parkinson’s to reliable, affordable services. It was also designed to be interactive, so don’t hesitate to share your experience(s) with currently listed resources or recommend new ones.  The more involved the community is in growing the Resource Guide the more helpful it will be.

Julie let us know that members of the Center’s staff are also available Monday – Friday (9am-5pm CST) to discuss resources by phone at 877- 223-3801.

Beyond its informative website and Resource Guide, YoungParkinsons.org also maintains the excellent Young Parkinson’s Blog and publishes a free monthly eNewsletter.

Dedicated since 1961 to “ease the burden and find a cure for Parkinson’s disease,” the APDA is a major leader in research/education/public education and support for patients and families with PD. The Theracycle Team highly commends the APDA and its National Young Onset Center for their good works, and recommends their helpful resources and tools.

 

Davis Phinney Foundation: Exercise helps people with Parkinson’s “live better” today

The Triumphant & Victorious Davis Phinney-- Theracycle's Hero

As a company who builds exercise bikes for people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, it should come as no surprise that Davis Phinney is a hero of ours!

For those who don’t know of him, Colorado-based Davis Phinney is a retired professional cyclist (and 1984 Olympic medalist) who at the age of 40 was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s 12 years ago. A perpetual motion machine, Davis has led bicycle tours and conducted cycle-related fundraisers for PD research for many years.

In 2004, he founded The Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF), which is dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s disease to “live well today,” through educational programs, events and, the funding of research focused on exercise, speech and other quality of life therapies.

DPF-funded research includes support for multiple projects directed by Theracycle’s own official Medical Advisor, Boston University Prof. Terry Ellis, PT, PhD, NCS including her 2010 study: “Factors Associated With Exercise Behavior in People With Parkinson Disease.”

For all these reasons, it is with great pride, that we share this first guest blog post from the tremendous team at the Davis Phinney Foundation — among the most dedicated and enthusiastic Parkinson’s exercise ambassadors we know!

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Art & Laughter as Parkinson’s Therapies

Anne's "Painting with Parkinson's" Group

Innovative therapies for people with Parkinson’s disease are originating and being practiced all over the world. From Australia via the Pacific Northwest comes this write-up “Art, laughter are therapy for PD group.” Written by Anne Atkin — volunteer, public speaker, ambassador and librarian with Australia-based Parkinson’s Victoria. as well as author of a new book: “Living and Laughing with Parkinsons”

Anne began her first “Painting with Parkinson’s” group in 2007, parlaying her love of art and experience as a teacher into benefit for others with Parkinson’s. Anne’s article was orginally published in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of The Parkinson’s Post, bi-monthly newsletter of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation (www.nwpf.org). The mission of this Seattle-based organization is “to establish an optimal quality of life for the Northwest Parkinson’s community through awareness, education, advocacy and care.”

Special thanks to Ruth Egger of the NWPF for permission to reprint the article.

Here’s Anne Atkin’s article “Art, laughter are therapy for PD group”

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