Parkinson’s Disease - Physical Evolution

Physical Evolution

Parkinson’s Disease

“Live each day; your condition does not own you. Make every new day better; always remember, you are still in charge.” (Frank C. Church)

What is Parkinson’s Disease? 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurological disorder affecting the central nervous system. It is characterised by the degeneration of dopamine producing cells which are responsible for sending and fine-tuning movement messages to the brain. The inability to produce dopamine can result in motor control impairments that affect the ability to plan and control body movement.

Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

At Physical Evolution, our neurological rehabilitation team of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists utilise various modalities to address movement planning difficulties commonly associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Movement and exercise play a pivotal role in the prevention, maintenance and improvement of numerous symptoms linked to Parkinson’s Disease (see below for more details). Higher levels of mobility correlate to a greater quality of life and prolongs independent living.

Exercise is an evidence-based, safe and effective treatment modality in Parkinson’s Disease management. At Physical Evolution, exercise plays a key role in Parkinson’s Disease management by:

The risk of falls due to Parkinson’s Disease is reported to be twice that of community dwelling older adults. Early intervention is key. At Physical Evolution, our team of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists design individualised exercise programs to promote strength, balance, and cardiorespiratory fitness to enhance movement mechanics. Exercise has been shown to reduce slowness of movement and freezing episodes, which in combination with postural corrections, facilitate improvements in mobility and walking.

Exercise provides neuroprotective benefits that can slow the physical decline that may be associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Research suggests that exercise may facilitate more efficient use of dopamine and may reduce the vulnerability of dopamine-producing cells to damage.

Exercise has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (our stress response) and increase levels of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins (collectively known as the happy hormones).

Exercise is shown to reduce the risk of many common comorbidities associated with Parkinson’s Disease including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Research highlights that moderate intensity exercise has the potential to increase Levadopa uptake, thus greater aiding in the control of motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease.