Stories

Jan's Story

It Is Exercise!

Diagnosed at 47

I want to share what I think has made a positive effect on my progression, symptoms and quality of life. IT IS EXERCISE!!! If you are not exercising with this disease, you are not taking advantage of one of the simplest and most effective forms of treatment to fight back against PD. Since diagnosis and before, exercise was and is a priority in my life. My regular neurologist and my movement disorder specialist both have told me that I am much better than others at my stage of diagnosis and they wish they could convince their patients to exercise. Five days a week, I attend a strength training class at our local municipal recreation center. It is 45 minutes of strenuous calisthenics. When I first started the class, I could not do many of the exercises, even simple sit ups and leg lifts. This was approximately two years ago. Now I am doing all of the exercises. I am limber, my balance, posture and coordination has improved and I have toned my muscles and lost weight.

Jan's Story   ExecisingMy medications have remained at the same dosage for four years, the side effects are minimal and I am still very active. I think strength training is good for the muscles affected by PD and works for me, but may not work for everyone. Any form of exercise for 30 to 45 minutes each day will also have a positive effect. Walking, chair exercises, mini-weights (5 lbs or less) or, if you are able, simple calisthenics. Of course, consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and he/she may have a program to recommend for your personal situation. Give it a try and see if you don't see results!!!

When I was diagnosed in 2002 at the age of 47, I am sure that I do not have to tell any of you the the shock that reeled through me when the doctor said, "I believe you are in the early stages of Parkinson's disease." I was dumb-founded and from that point on heard literally nothing else he said to me. Thinking I was going to hear, "There is nothing wrong with you, perhaps you are drinking too much coffee", this was like being punched in the stomach. However, I will not dwell on the negative struggles, symptoms or the medication experiences I've had over the years.

I pray for all of us that research comes up with something, anything, to stop the progression. I'm not going down without a fight!

6 Comments

Jan,Thank you for your story and encouragement to exercise. I do feel much better when I am active and I need to put the exercise regime into my daily schedule. My work is a very active job in an elementary school and in the communtiy. So, I get tired after just a few hours. By the time I do get home, I am exhausted. The increasing dosage of medications does not help this nor does the severe depression I have. I do Chi Gong and Tai Chi, which help a lot, but are very tiring.(Theclass is 90 minutes.) What i need to do is get to a more active place, stop making excuses and move it. Tomorrow is another day and I will try my best. Thank you.
paz

Paz, Nov 6, 2011

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Thank you both for your comments. Paz, I understand the tiredness and if I did not exercise the first thing every morning, I would not make it later because of the tiredness. Chi Gong and Tai Chi are wonderful Parkinson's exercises. I also did pilates, which is quite the workout. Hang in there and make time for yourself. Russ -- I also am eligible for the DBS when it is time, so I am very interested in what you have to say about it. You sound as if it has been quite successful, which is a blessing. I hope to have similar results if I elect to have the surgery. As you say, this is war, so keep up the fight!!!

Paz and Russ, Nov 10, 2011

Jan, I, like you, diagnosed in my mid forties. I have always been active, to a point. Fifteen years have passed, I was forced out of the workforce (downsizing) two years ago, that was the tipping point. The pressure caused a severe reaction to the medication (I had lost my mind) ending in the hospitable (Baker act). From that 72 hrs experience, to where I am today, are nothing short of a miracle. While being locked down and off Comtan I would have many hours for exercising and reflection.

Back from the brink and a year with (DBS) installed 12/10, I continue to mesmerize the doctors. My regiment consists of Tai Chi, Treadmill (3m), free weights, inverted bench (4min), aqua aerobics (live FL), biking, kayaking and I never watch TV without mixing in some simple stretching.
I mix it up to keep from becoming bored.

M.O. 1. Don't have tremors.
2. Rigidity/Stiffness
3. DBS, Improve right mobility

REMEMBER!!!!!

THIS IS A WAR. NEVER NEGOSIATE WITH YOURSELF, ITS EASIER TO SAY, I'LL DO IT TOMORROW OR I'LL WORK HARDER AND REGAIN LOST GROUND. YOU ARE HEADED FOR IMMOBILITY, INCREASE ACTIVITY OR REMAIN THE SAME,"NEVER DECREASE". REMEMBER, WHEN A CURE IS FOUND (AND IT WILL BE FOUND)YOUR BODY HAS TO BE READY. YOU HAVE SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN PRISON.

MOVE IT OR LOOSE IT!

Russ, Nov 10, 2011

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As an updated to my story -- my ADL score at my visit in October to my movement disorder specialist was 11, this is a drop from 21 when I began taking the meds 3 years ago. I believe exercise made the difference.

Jan

Jan, Dec 16, 2011

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Jan,
Can you send me your exercise routine?

Allen Roan, Dec 22, 2011

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Allen -- Sorry, I just saw your post. I hope it is not too late to answer you. I go to a "core" strength training exercise class. It consists of many different routines that work on all areas of the body. If you have an iPod, iPad or iPhone, you can download an app called Nike Training which is the same as my class. It consists of push ups, sit ups, squats, jogging in place, straight leg kicks, sumo squats, and arm exercises with 3 to 5 pound weights, etc.

Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga are very similar and have the same effect, but less strenuous, if you are unable to do some of the exercises. I did Pilates for awhile and I actually felt as if I had the same workout at the end of the class as I did with the strength training.

I can't do everything that the instructor has us do, but I do an altered form of the exercise.

Hope this helps. I truly believe it is why I am where I am today.

Allen, May 8, 2012

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