Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone. When you have Parkinson's disease (PD) exercise is as important as taking your medications on time, every time. Exercise helps to maintain strength, flexibility, balance, and cognitive acuity so you can continue to do the things you have to do and the things you love to do.
These resources will help you understand what research has shown about the impact exercise has on PD symptoms and how you should exercise to reap the most benefit.
Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association, 2016
This 34-page booklet outlines the importance of exercising for those with PD, discusses barriers to exercise and how to overcome them, distills exercise guidelines from several organizations into a quick reference chart for those with PD, provides information on exercise basics and how to get started along with specific exercises to increase endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
Published by the Brian Grant Foundation
This 8-page booklet (PDF) includes an overview of exercise for Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a word on PD exercise research, safety considerations, recommendations PD exercise, PD exercise principles, a table of PD symptoms and suggested movement and activities to help manage them, and links to Exercise for Parkinson’s Training for Professionals and to free online exercise videos.
Published by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), 2016
This 1-page fact sheet (PDF) explains briefly why exercise is important for those with Parkinson’s, including the benefit to thinking and memory, strength, balance, gait and posture. It also lists some exercises recommended for those with PD.
By Heather Cianci, PT, MS, GSC. Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), 2006
This 51-page manual (PDF) describes exercise methods that contribute to stability and includes photos to demonstrate proper form. Additional sections cover complementary therapies and partner assisted exercise.
En Español: Enfermedad de Parkinson: Estar en Forma Cuenta
By the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario
This 16-page booklet with references, highlights the benefits of exercise for those with PD, suggests types of exercise, and offers hints to make exercise more enjoyable, safe, and effective. Also included are several exercises with photos for flexibility, posture, coordination, manual dexterity, facial and phonation strength, walking, balance, arm and leg strength, breathing, and relaxation.
By the Parkinson’s Foundation
Exercise is a vital to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living. It can improve many PD symptoms. This webpage discusses what type of exercise is beneficial, challenges to exercising and tips for getting started, including contact information for the Parkinson’s Foundation’s helpline to find an exercise class near you.
By Suzanne Drolet. Published by PD Active, October 24, 2017
This webpage lists five reasons PD-specific exercise classes are worth considering for those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. What form of exercise you choose is not as important as moving as often as you can for as long as you can.
By Daily Dose PD
This 12 minute video explains the 5 keys research shows are most important for exercise to benefit those with Parkinson's Disease.
By the Michael J Fox Foundation, May 22, 2017
In this 3-minute video, Dr. Rachel Dolhun discusses the benefits of physical activity for both motor and non-motor symptoms, which exercise regimen is best, and that research continues into the effect of exercise in Parkinson's disease.
By Found My Fitness, October 14, 2020
This interview with neurologist and researcher, Giselle Petzinger, MD, spends about 20 minutes on an overview of Parkinson's (PD), why it occurs, and increased risk factors before focusing on exercise and PD. How exercise can lower risk of developing PD, ameliorate effects of PD, improve cognitive function, and slow progression of PD symptoms are discussed in some depth. The interview wraps up by discussing how exercise may not fully replace the use of medications.
By the Parkinson’s Foundation, January 13, 2015
In this 1-hour webinar physical therapist Margaret Schenkman discusses the importance of exercise and activity for living well with PD, current evidence and gaps in knowledge concerning exercise and activity benefits, and evidence suggesting vigorous activity might have neuroprotective benefits.
By Coach Me Strong
This page has two videos of Sherrie Gould, NP speaking about exercise. The shorter video (14 minutes) is about the benefits of exercise for those with PD. The longer video (45 minutes) is about exercise and attitude.
Information about the Coach Me Strong Parkinson's exercise coaching program can also be found on this page. Members of Coach Me Strong receive a daily workout from their coach that incorporates exercise you already do for PD. This provides structure and accountability for a monthly fee.
By the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, January 8, 2020
In this 1-hour webinar panelists discuss the latest research showing the best way for those with PD to exercise, how often and when to exercise, establishing an exercise routine around PD obstacles, the importance of social interaction on mood and exercise motivation, the effect of exercise on PD prevention, daily symptoms, and disease progression, how PD exercise studies are done, the neuroplastic effect of exercise on motor learning and the handling of dopamine in the brain, and exercising safely.
By ParkinsonFIT, July 8, 2019
This 26-minute talk explains exercise for Parkinson's Disease, specifically how exercise intensity is measured, and understanding the concepts of vigorous exercise and forced exercise
By UCSF Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center, May 20, 2017
This 36-minute lecture by Catherine Printz, PT, DPT, NCS, includes an overview of what research shows is the benefit of exercise to those with PD, how to determine which exercise is best for you, commonly asked questions in her physical therapy clinic and solutions to address common mobility problems.
By Invigorate Physical Therapy & Wellness, May 7, 2019
In this 16-minute YouTube video doctor of physical therapy, Sarah King, shares that at least two studies have demonstrated daily exercise slows the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). Dr. King summarizes from those studies how often and how vigorously those with PD should exercise in order to benefit. Dr. King then describes how to prioritize the exercises you've been given by a physical therapist, those specific to PD, and those you just enjoy, depending on individual needs.
By the Davis Phinney Foundation, November 21, 2018
Episode 108 of the Parkinson’s Podcast is a 30-minute interview with Dr. Jay Alberts, a biomedical engineer at the Cleveland Clinic and founder of Pedaling for Parkinson’s. Dr. Alberts found riding a tandem bike with someone who has no PD results in brain changes, minimizing symptoms (smell, tremor, manual dexterity). Any exercise that increases the quantity and quality of information to the brain (e.g. cycling, boxing, dancing and other exercises that require timing, coordination, speed, etc.) should result in the same symptomatic improvement.
APDA Upper Midwest Chapter, November 20, 2020
On the Day 2 video of the Upper Midwest Parkinson's Symposium, at timestamp 1:31, you will find a one-hour talk by Dr. Kristin Pickett, PhD. She explains the difference between occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT). She believes those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) should have PT, OT and speech therapy as part of their care team early on. Especially if you hate "exercise," you can incorporate physical activity/movement into your everyday tasks. This is what she means by "meaningful physical activity."
By the Veteran's Administration
This 9-minute video alternates between an interview with a man and his wife, the man's neurologist and Parkinson's researcheers. The man and his wife share how he was freezing and falling daily until he began exercising regularly. Researchers explain how exercise helps by prevention, compensation and neuoplasticity. Regular exercise for strengthening, cardiovascular fitness, stretching, agility and balance have as powerful an effect on fluidity of movement as Parkinson's medications.
By PMD Alliance, July 17, 2020
In this 1-hour webinar, speaker Giselle Petzinger, MD, a movement disorder specialist focuses on the role exercise plays in promoting neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new connections and pathways, and how this strengthens cognitive and automatic components of motor control.
Webinar notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog
By the Parkinson’s Foundation, January 21, 2020
In this 1-hour webinar Joellyn Fox, DPT, discusses the impact PD has on strength, endurance and balance and shares which specific exercises can improve each domain. [Registration is required, but is free.]
Webinar notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog
By APDA National Resource Center for Rehabilitation at Boston University
This webpage lists the best medical research on the management of PD symptoms through exercise. Note that the center offers a tollfree “exercise helpline” where callers can speak with a licensed physical therapist. Available Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm (Boston time) at 888-606-1688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated August 2020 by Stanford's Parkinson's Community Outreach.