Author: Marilyn

New Danvers friends up and moving!

Instructors Linda and Keith were warmly welcomed at the Danvers Senior Center on Wednesday (July 16th), where they explained, demonstrated, and led a number of exercises for a new group of curious friends.

We’re happy to report that the Parkinson’s Fitness program will now be offered weekly on Wednesday mornings at the center  beginning August 13th from 10:30 to 11:30 AM. If you live or travel in the  Danvers vicinity and have been wanting to find an exercise program geared toward maintaining mobility in spite of Parkinson’s challenges, we’re here to welcome you!

Danvers offers- as does both our Marblehead and Gloucester exercise locations – a busy community center with lots of programs…and Parkinson’s Fitness is proud to be among them! If you want to be part of an upbeat, ability-based,  goal-oriented Parkinson’s exercise program, we’re here for you on Wednesday mornings. Come on in and join us!

Keeping a good thing going and growing!

Linda and Dianna have really enjoyed welcoming a wonderful group of committed people into their class at the Rose Baker Sr. Center in Gloucester each Thursday afternoon!

One of the special joys of offering the program is having people who initially came out of a sense of curiosity now return weekly, as they build confidence in their abilities and work in community with one another.

Wouldn’t it be fun if one day in the future ALL the classes could gather for a one-time combined “meet-and-greet” class in one of the centers. Hmmmm…maybe we’ll think about that after the new Danvers group becomes more familiar with the program!



See It Through…

While recently reading a copy of poet Edgar A. Guest’s book titled A Heap o’ Livin’ (copyright 1916), the following poem seemed especially appropriate to share:

               See It Through
When you’re up against a trouble,
meet it squarely, face to face;
lift your chin and set your shoulders,
plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer…
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
and your future may seem grim,
but don’t let your nerve desert you;
keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
spite of all that you can do,
running from it will not save you…
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
when with troubles you’re beset,
but remember you are facing
just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
don’t give up, whate’er you do;
eyes front, head high to the finish…
See it through!

Something to try while watching TV…

  1. Sit up tall in a firm, straight-back chair (preferably without arm rests).
  2. With feet flat on the floor, place a weighted ball between the knees (ours happen to be 2 lbs.)
  3. Grasp the edge of the chair near the thighs.
  4. Tighten the knees to hold the ball in place, pull in the stomach muscles, raise knees up  until feet are off the floor, hold for a count of 5, then lower. (Start slowly – try for 5 repetitions.)
  5. If you cannot lift both feet off the ground with bent knees, position the ball (or another object) as described in step 2, and extend legs straight out to the front to whatever height can be achieved. (hold for 5 count – do 5 repetitions to start)
  6. Remember to breathe as you exercise!


…down went the bowling pins and up went the scores!

April 30, 2014

We were joined on our return trip to the Peabody Metro Bowl bowling lanes  today by three new friends from the Peabody Parkinson’s support group. We’re happy to report that all of us scored in the double digits and a couple of us even bowled spares!

Good fun and friendship shared…we’re looking forward to going back soon!

Add a little rhythm to your exercise routine…

April 29, 2014

Occupational therapist Stacy Hodges, O.T., Director, Rehab Services, Virginia Gay Hospital, Vinton, IA, offered a good tip in the spring edition of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s News & Review newsletter.  Interestingly – and what caught our eye during reading – is that we already use this handy tool during some of our exercise classes!

To quote Stacy: “Since freezing occurs in part because of the body’s inability to plan movement, try strategies that make your movement more automatic. Use an interactive metronome  to establish a unique rhythm for each user. After programming the device, place it on a nearby surface. Then, perform tasks (i.e. chores or exercise) to its beat. It will help your movements to become more fluid.”

Remember those old music lesson days when the teacher set up the “tick-tock” instrument to help you keep the proper rhythm? Well, now there are free apps for the iPhone and iPad from the Apple/iTunes store (health and fitness categories). We use a free version from a particular retailer that creates a variety of different beat programs with an adjustable volume level. As with everything we offer, it’s fun…but with a serious purpose!

Wisdom through the centuries…

April 27, 2014

Not just present-day generations have understood the importance of motivated movement!

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”  – Plato (ancient Greek writer and philosopher – born circa 428 B.C. – died circa 348 B.C., Athens)

Recent program demonstration in Salem

April 26, 2014

Keith, Linda and Marilyn met with a small but interested group of women at the Salem Senior Center last week. Three of the women were already familiar with one another, as they participate in some of the other excellent programs Salem offers its seniors…tai chi, yoga, strength maintenance, etc.

In the time available, Linda gave a great, albeit shortened, overview of the types of targeted exercises we offer. Keith explained the concepts behind keeping as active and goal-oriented as possible when faced with a neurological opponent as challenging as Parkinson’s. To demonstrate one of the points he was making, out came the unexpected boxing gloves and portable upright punching target.  With a little coaxing from Keith, each person was soon following his instructions about weight shifting and making jabs! Comments such as, “Oooh, I missed that time!” turned into determined cross-cuts and big smiles all around as they made contact with their targets!

Thank you, Salem! We hope to be with you on a regular basis in the near future!

And off we went to Gloucester…

April 21, 2014

Early last Thursday afternoon, Keith, Linda and Marilyn were joined by friend Dianna Daly and 20 interested people at the Rose Baker Senior Center in Gloucester, MA for a demonstration of our exercise program.

Center coordinator Lucy Sheehan graciously welcomed us, and a number of the people who came were pleased to learn that Dianna Daly is associated with our mission, as she is already a respected yoga instructor at the center.

After introducing ourselves, we presented an overview of what Parkinson’s Fitness offers as a means of empowering individuals living with Parkinson’s to maintain their healthiest, safest, and most fulfilling physical and emotional quality of life. Then, curious about the actual exercises, everyone joined in both seated and standing routines, as well as trying strength and agility movements.

After positive comments were made by many in the group to Lucy Sheehan and to us as the program ended, scheduling for a weekly program in Gloucester is being worked on. We’re excited to weave Dianna’s familiar presence and expertise into a leadership role for the classes.

We’ll keep you “posted” as plans progress!


Sharing our vision for the North Shore…

April 5, 2014

We visited the Peabody Parkinson’s support group this week, courtesy of facilitator Rebecca Stewart, and had a great time demonstrating parts of our exercise program.

Now, we all realize that most audiences politely listen to new speakers, and the Peabody members were no exception. Their polite attention turned into enthusiastic participation as Linda led general warm-up stretching and then moved into more focused movements involving the entire upper torso and legs.

Our demonstration space was limited, so many of the exercises were done seated in chairs. But when Keith took over, we were up on our feet for boxing and trying the agility ladder. We had also added in some cognitive movements using our weighted balls.

We felt the group enjoyed trying the shortened sample program. There was certainly laughter, as well as lots of good-natured comments, shared. We believe everyone left with a healthy sense of personal accomplishment!

Thanks for being such great hosts, Peabody! Hope to have you join us when the Marblehead group goes bowling again soon!

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