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.

 

 

 

Parkinson’s Unity Walk Coming Up April 28

As we hope you know, the Theracycle team is an active supporter or organizations and initiatives that support fundraising for research for treatments of Parkinson’s disease. In that vein, we’d like to share the news of the 18th annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk, which is upcoming April 28. Hope many of you can participate/donate. VERY worthy cause and an inspirational event!  Keep Moving!!

More details in the this press release…
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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.

 

Tai Chi for Parkinson’s Disease

Discontent with drug treatments and Deep Brain Stimulation approaches, many people living with Parkinson’s disease are exploring and pursuing a wide range of therapies to improve their symptoms.

While The Theracycle Blog has extensively detailed how a “Forced Exercise” regimen of riding a Theracycle has benefited PD patients, worldwide—we think it’s important for our blog to cover other alternative therapies…

Dr. Patrick Massey, MD, PhD— an Illinois-based physician is a practitioner of advanced medical and physical therapies that combine what he describes as “the best of traditional and non-traditional medicine.”

Medical director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network, Dr. Massey runs ALT-MED, a helpful website with a patient-focused approach with useful information and resources.

Here’s a recent article from Dr. Massey with his professional opinion on how “Parkinson’s patients could benefit from tai chi”…

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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!

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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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Jeff Jennings: “Despite Parkinson’s – what you can believe, you can achieve”

The ruggedly handsome man you see here is 51 year old Jeff Jennings of Greenville, South Carolina. While Jeff played football in college and competed in distance running (including the NYC Marathon in 1986), his life changed in 1996 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 35.

Since then, as Jeff describes his life— he’s been living on “PST (Parkinsons Standard Time).” While a PD diagnosis might discourage some people— not Jeff!

Today Jeff’s one of of the most prolific and inspirational Parkinson’s bloggers on the Web. Jeff describes blogging as ” great therapy to be able to expose some vulnerabilities, face fears and perhaps bare your soul to good friends, as well as perfect strangers.”

Jeff’s articles cover the broad canvas of his life and chronicle his light-hearted look at a life with Parkinson’s and occasional musings on “How do I live with this disease?”

Reading Jeff’s blog — I’m impressed with his strong spirit, his refusal to be prideful, and his constant optimism to triumph in the midst of adversity including his past adventure of DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery.

Jeff has written “for exercise therapy to work, there going to be those times (probably many) when a good ration of self discipline will be make all the difference.” He also comments that the mental issues are tougher than the physical ones.

Honoring Jeff’s fighting spirit, the Theracycle Blog is proud to publish this article, written and contributed by Jeff Jennings, titled:

Visualization – The Power To See A Successful Outcome

 

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New Parkinson’s Disease Therapy eBook

As you may know, The Theracycle is a motorized therapy bicycle uniquely designed for individuals with PD (and other movement disorders). Because the Theracycle is motorized, it allows individuals to easily maintain the consistent pedaling cadence of forced exercise therapy.

Research has shown that a therapy of assisted high-cadence cycling, referred to as “forced exercise,” significantly reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

We’ve written and published an eBook that provides an overview of the Cleveland Clinic’s findings on forced exercise, as well as commentary from doctors and therapists about the therapy and their experiences.

This new eBook is titled:
A New Therapy Brings Hope & Results to People with Parkinson’s Disease

Click here to register and download our eBook to learn more about forced exercise or to share what you’ve learned with your doctor.

Boston Herald on Theracycle: “Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits”

Fans of the Theracycle will want to read this just-published (2-15-12) article written by Boston Herald business reporter Brendan Lynch titled “Exercise Bike Reinvented– Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits”  featuring an interview with Peter Blumenthal.

Read on below or see the article at the BostonHerald.com website at  bit.ly/wPBTRa

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Boston Herald
Exercise bike reinvented
Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits

By Brendan Lynch            Wednesday, February 15, 2012
http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Technology Coverage

 

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/technology/general/view.bg?articleid=1403672

A Franklin company bought out of bankruptcy in 2002 has landed federal funding for its “forced exercise” technology — motorized exercise equipment — to help treat people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

“It sounds counter-intuitive,” Theracycle CEO Peter Blumenthal told the Herald. “Why would you ever use an exercise bike with motors? But you can overcome the motors as you regain strength.”

Theracycle won a $200,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to modify its bike to replicate a therapeutic effect caused by tandem bicycle riding discovered by a Cleveland Clinic study.

In August, the company plans to apply for a Phase II SBIR grant, which could be as high as $2 million, to prove the bike would be effective in treating Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s or other mobility-limiting conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries, often don’t exercise at all because it’s so difficult, which exacerbates their condition.

“(Exercise) gives the same benefit a healthy individual gets, except it’s much more important,” Blumenthal said. “Since their bodies are so decimated, they get secondary conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes, poor circulation, stiffness.”

Blumenthal once owned the retail chain Frame King, but sold it in 1998 for “between $5 million and $10 million.” In 1999, he was struck by a car in Newton while riding a bike. He broke his neck, but was not paralyzed.

“When I started rehab I found it was impossible to use traditional exercise equipment,” he said. “I couldn’t do it.”

In 2002, a friend told him about The Exercycle Co. He bought the 60-year-old Rhode Island company out of bankruptcy for $150,000, moved it to Franklin, and changed its name to Theracycle to reflect its new status as a medical device.

The company, with about eight employees, is moving toward profitability, Blumenthal said, and sells the bikes to homes and hospitals for $3,000 to $5,500.

Blumenthal is confident in Theracycle’s market opportunity — there are 1.5 million people with Parkinson’s disease in the United States.

“If we could get 1 percent of that market, that’s 15,000 bicycles,” he said. “That becomes a $75 million business.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/technology/general/view.bg?articleid=1403672

Copyright: Boston Herald

Bicycling helping people with Parkinson’s curb their symptoms

Image Credit: Matt McClain/Washington Post

As its title suggests, a January 10, 2012 feature article in The Washington Post (Bicycling and other exercise may help people with Parkinson’s curb their symptoms,) states “while it cannot cure Parkinson’s, heavy-duty exercise shows promise for countering, even delaying, the inability to move that the disease causes.”

In her article, Post reporter Alice Reid details results that medical researchers and Parkinson’s patients are seeing from regular, intense exercise (such as rowing and cycling)

The article notes that the National Parkinson Foundation “emphasizes exercise as an important tool to fight the disease,” and “The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has funded close to $3 million in exercise research.”

Jay Alberts, the Cleveland Clinic researcher best known for his landmark work on “Forced Exercise” (cycling for Parkinson’s therapy) is quoted throughout the piece. A ‘just-completed study’ conducted by Alberts in which patients rode indoor bikes for exercise benefits is featured prominently.

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Susie’s Theracycle Story: M.S. Cycling Therapy at Home

Theracycle Motorized Exercise Bike

One of the most fulfilling things about being part of our work is receiving unsolicited messages from customers on how Theracycle exercise has improved the quality of their lives.

Susie Feldmeyer of Pennsylvania has been living with progressive Multiple Sclerosis for 11 years, and wrote us recently saying:

“My life has changed IMMENSELY since receiving the Theracycle!! 
I have been on the bike everyday but one, and every single thing I do has changed for the better.”

When Susie’s nurse practitioner recently told her she loves her Theracycle so much she should sell them for us, Susie replied saying “If I could drive I would be going to every physical therapy and Neurologist office this side of Pennsylvania.”

Whether for MS, for Parkinson’s disease or stroke — Theracycle customers have weighed in with enthusiastic testimonials on benefits they’ve seen from Theracycle exercise. From people with movement disorders like spinal cord injuries, arthritis or obesity who are Theracycling at home, to physicians, physical therapists and fitness specialties who recommend it to their patients — the Theracycle is getting rave reviews and powering inspiring stories of individual determination!

While we try to be ‘non-commercial’ on The Theracycle Blog, we can’t resist sharing Susie Feldmeyer’s Theracycle Story, in her own inspiring words…

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