The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates there are more than 1 million people in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and more than 60,000 people are diagnosed each year. PD is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder where part of the brain gradually becomes more damaged as the years go by.

The main symptoms of the disease are movement related. Various studies in the 1980s and 1990s supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living. More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, i.e., actually slowing disease progression.

Community building is also an important aspect of these programs, and participants enjoy laughing, getting to know new friends, and sharing information about living with PD and related diseases. The camaraderie is palpable — built up through sweat and the energy of facing common challenges. 

Contact

For more information or to sign up for any of the programs below, email Diane Saccone or call 828 575 2904.

Pedaling for Parkinson’s

The benefits of cycling for individuals with PD and extensive research from the Cleveland Clinic has concluded that cycling may provide symptomatic relief for those living with the disease. Researchers found cycling, especially at rates above what a participant would normally choose, appeared to make regions of the brain that deal with movement more effectively connect to each other.

Research also showed a 35 percent reduction in symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace, optimally 80-90 revolutions per minute. Fast pedaling is not a cure for PD, but there is compelling evidence to show that it does make a real difference in many who try it. Regular exercise is one of the key components in treating the many symptoms of PD and it has been proven that pedaling a bicycle may change the life of someone with PD.

Pedaling for Parkinson’s is a 12-week program that runs 2x a week for 12 weeks for a total of 24 contact hours. 24 hours of program has been proven to show positive outcomes from participants in the program to include improved balance, reduction in symptoms and better sleep habits. Pedaling for Parkinson’s is useful for people with PD due to the balance challenges that many experiences. Indoor group cycling led by a trained coach provides a monitored and safe exercise protocol. The participant can pedal in a controlled environment while being observed as well as coached properly.

This program supported by a community grant from the Parkinson's Foundation.

Program Requirements

  • Be over age 30
  • Be diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease
  • Complete and submit consent and medical clearance form
  • Heart rate monitor is required to participate
  • Agree to periodically monitor progress
  • NOT have cardiac or pulmonary disease, uncontrolled mellitus, uncontrolled hypertension or stroke, dementia, other medical conditions for which exercise poses a risk.

PWR!Moves

PWR!Moves is a standalone exercise program for building everyday movement. The program meets twice a week for 12 weeks. It is performed with large amplitude, high effort and in multiple positions (floor/sitting/standing). Participants will learn how to use these exercises to target symptoms that interfere with everyday movement. The PWR! Moves exercises are performed slowly, rhythmically and with sustained effort in a high-intensity format. Exercises are performed as fast as possible with repetitive high effort. The exercises are linked together into longer and longer sequences that mimic everyday movements with progression of common dual tasks.

The 12-week program that starts with repetitive training of four foundational skills that underlie everyday functions that become impaired with Parkinson’s or related diseases. PWR! Moves are always performed with high effort for bigger and faster movements while directing attention on “how it feels” to use your full movement potential. The emphasis is on learning what “optimal function” feels like so that it carries over to everyday life. Participants will be both physically and cognitively challenged to “use it and improve it”.

This program supported by a community grant from the Parkinson's Foundation.

Program Requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete and submit consent and medical clearance form
  • Be independently mobile or have someone present during classes to assist

Rock Steady Boxing

Rock Steady Boxing is a 12-week program that meets twice a week. Exercises are largely adapted from boxing drills. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. When in Rock Steady Boxing, PD is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant. Rock Steady Boxing classes take participants through a well-rounded workout that moves the body in all planes of motion. Classes begin with stretching then move on to core work, calisthenics, weight training and fast-paced routines using rings, jump ropes, frisbees, focus mitts, and other props. Then there’s the boxing itself, where “fighters,” as participants are called, use footwork and punches in combinations to attack a punching bag—and attack the disease.

This program supported by a community grant from the Parkinson's Foundation.

Program requirements:

  • Be over age 30
  • Be diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease
  • Complete and submit consent and medical clearance form

 

 

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