Exercise for elderly with Parkinson’s disease

Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease – Start Early and Keep Moving

New recommendations about physical exercise for people living with Parkinson’s disease have just been released from the USA by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to provide effective and safe guidelines about physical activity for people with Parkinson’s disease and certified exercise professionals.

“The recommendations followed a recent meeting convened in the USA by the Parkinson’s Foundation, which included experts in exercise programs and research, physical therapy, exercise certification, medicine, and Parkinson’s community-based exercise programs.

The exercise guidelines are built upon science-based standards for exercise testing and prescription by the ACSM, which is an organization dedicated to advancing and integrating research to improve practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

Research studies, including the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project — the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s including more than 13,000 participants in five countries — have revealed that those who exercise experience a better quality of life and decreased symptoms compared to those who do not. Such symptoms include balance and mobility difficulties, as well as depression, constipation, and thinking skills.

The guidelines recommend three days per week for at least 30 minutes per session of continuous or intermittent aerobic exercise at moderate-to-vigorous intensity. This includes rhythmic activities such as fast-walking, running, cycling, swimming, or aerobics class. Supervision may be required due to safety concerns such as the risk of freezing gait, blunted heart rate, or low blood pressure.

Two to three non-consecutive days per week for at least 30 minutes per session are recommended for strength training. Each session should include 10 to 15 repetitions focusing on major muscle groups, resistance, and speed and power. Using weight machines, resistance bands, handheld weights, or bodyweight to exercise the upper and lower extremities is suggested. Muscle stiffness and posture instability should be considered.

For balance, agility, and multitasking, the guidelines recommend two to three days per week of multi-directional stepping, weight-shifting, balance activities, large movements, and activities such as yoga, tai chi, dance, or boxing. Supervision may be required due to safety regarding cognitive and balance problems.

Finally, the recommendations include two to three days per week of sustained stretching with deep breathing or stretching before exercise. Adaptations for flexed posture, osteoporosis (bone loss), and pain needs to be considered. “STEVE BRYSON PHD – PARKINSONS NEWS

Exercising under the supervision of Allied health practitioners such as physiotherapists and exercise physiologists helps all Parkinson’s clients exercise safely and effectively. At Agility Health Centre our qualified exercise professionals use evidence-based guidelines to assist all our clients meet their goals. With our modern facilities and the recent addition of a gym we can offer

  • Consultation, planning and monitoring of a client specific exercise programme that will be meet these guidelines
  • Supervised gym sessions in our rehab gym in Ascot
  • Clinical Pilates sessions for strength and balance
  • Bones and balance classes
  • KLT classes specifically designed for Parkinson’s disease
  • Cardio programmes on bikes and treadmill
  • Group hydrotherapy classes at Ascot Aquatic centre conducted by our EPs
  • Big Moves dance classes
  • Aerobics and Stretching classes for Parkinson’s clients


Call us to make an appointment with one of our health professionals to discuss your needs and goals. Ph 3862 2322 We are conducting classes at our Ascot and Bulimba locations.

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