The Ten Commandments of resistance exercise for People with Parkinson’s (PwP)
Hello fellow People with Parkinson’s (PwP) and welcome to the first post in ‘My 10 commandments of resistance exercise for PwP.’ Why resistance exercise? Resistance exercise builds muscle, strength, power and can help maintain bone density as we age. Keep your rest between sets brief so your heart rate and breathing stay elevated and you will pick up a reasonable amount of cardiovascular conditioning as well.
I watch Youtube enough to see the top 10 of this or that regularly posted on there usually followed by another version or email replies explaining why the choices shown are all wrong, so if you agree with me or disagree why not post your reply and explain why you think I am a genius or point out why I talk complete nonsense.
Okay, my first commandment is Timing and degree of effort must be carefully controlled.
Timing is not only how long you exercise but also what time in the day you exercise and also the total time of workouts done over a specific time period. Degree of effort is how hard you work in your exercise sessions. Too much effort or time or both will burn you out. For example, try sprinting on a track then keep that pace up for 5,000 metres – impossible, right? Sprint over 100 metres several times and you have worked hard but not too much.
Timing: As parky people we cannot do physical tasks when we go ‘off’, and heavier exertion consumes the drugs we take at a faster pace. Try to schedule your exercise for an hour after taking a dose when optimal levels of dopamine in your brain are present. Try to keep up the pace and finish your workout in around 30 minutes (or less if that proves to be too much).
Degree of effort: Work hard but not too hard, resistance exercise with weights or even bodyweight exercises such as dips and pull-ups are concentrated forms of exercise; err on the side of caution and when in doubt do less! If you find it was not enough try a bit harder next time. It is safer to gradually increase workload over time than risking over-extending yourself by going too crazy then suffering for it (ever laid on the floor and felt like you were near death for 2 hours? I have and it’s not an experience I would recommend!)
Summary: Remember we are not the ‘normal people’ we were before Parkinson’s so we have to monitor what we do and our exercise becomes a slow-moving target as the years pass, forcing us to gradually become more limited in what we do. Sounds depressing no? But don’t quit, because if you do all the advantages in health and strength you possess will fade away and be lost ‘like tears in the rain!’
Thanks for reading (and thank you Blade Runner for such a great line!).