Accept advice from a Mayo Clinic physician…

Feeling under-motivated with keeping up with your exercise? You’re stronger than those negative voices that say “why bother” and “it doesn’t make any difference”!

“Recognize and rely on your strengths. 

This will give you confidence and help you carry out your plan.”

Donald Hensrud, M.D.  – Mayo Clinic Physician

Why not post the quote somewhere highly visible where it will serve as a positive reminder…such as:

  • on the bathroom mirror?
  • on a kitchen cabinet?
  • on the door to go outside?
  • on the refrigerator?
  • on the television screen?
  • on your computer or iPad – maybe as a scrolling screensaver?
  • on the car dashboard?

Good Advice to Share With You… collaborates with Harvard Health Publications, the consumer health publishing division of Harvard Medical School. The following information has been adapted from a Harvard Health Publication  Harvard Health Letter: December 2013 – a newsletter published by Harvard Health Publications and added to the site as a free educational supplement. The collaboration between the two organizations takes place without an exchange of funds.

Adding just a little physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.

How much exercise do you need?
Exercising moderately for 30 minutes, five times a week is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective. Even just a little physical activity is better than none at all.

How hard do I need to exercise?
Research has shown that mild to moderate activity is enough to change your life for the better. Moderate activity means that you breathe a little heavier than normal, but are not out of breath. For example, you should be able to chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song. Your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.

Do I need different types of exercise?
While any kind of exercise offers tremendous health benefits, different types of exercise focus more on certain aspects of your health. Mixing up the different types of exercise can add variety to your workouts and broaden the health benefits.

Aerobic activities like running, cycling, and swimming strengthen your heart and increase your endurance.

Strength training like weight lifting or resistance training builds muscle and bone mass, improves balance and prevents falls. It’s one of the best counters to frailty in old age.

Flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga help prevent injury, enhance range of motion, reduce stiffness, and limit aches and pains.

Exercise is as Good for Your Mind as it is Your Body
Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. It can help you to control your appetite, lose weight, shed inches, and lower your risk for a variety of serious diseases. But the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise is as effective as antidepressant medication at relieving depression and boosting your mood. It can also help you to relieve stress and anxiety, improve your self-esteem, sleep better, and cope with life’s challenges in a healthy, positive way. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.

Easy exercises for “couch potatoes”

Sit to stand
Go from sitting to standing to sitting again, 10 times in a row. Rest for a minute, then repeat.

Works the quadriceps in the front of the thigh and gluteal muscles in the buttocks, which helps protect your ability to get up from a chair, out of a car, or off a bathroom seat.

Calf stretch
Sit on the edge of a couch with your feet flat on the floor. With one leg, keeping your heel on the floor, lift and point the toes toward the ceiling, so that you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg, three times per leg.Keeping your calves optimally flexible can keep your walking stride longer, reduce your risk of tripping over your toes, and reduce your risk for common foot injuries.

Stand on one leg
Holding on to the back of a chair for stability, lift one heel toward your buttocks. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, three times per leg. To improve your balance on unsteady surfaces, try this with shoes off on a balled-up beach towel.Balance gets better if you practice it, which can decrease the risk of falling.

Shoulder blade squeeze
Pinch your shoulder blades together, but not up (don’t shrug). Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 10 times.Helps prevent a rounded, shoulders-forward posture that can develop from many years of sitting, especially at a computer.

Hand squeeze
While seated upright, hold a ball (the size of a basketball) over your lap with both hands, then squeeze the ball as if you’re trying to deflate it. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times, rest, then do another set of 10 repetitions. You can also improve your grip strength by squeezing a small rubber ball in one hand.

Keeping your grip strong makes it possible to turn a door knob, open a jar, and grasp a gallon of milk.

Important information about blood clotting…

The following web site offers very important information for anyone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. We’re all aware that Parkinson’s challenges can lead to a lack of regular physical movement. Read on through the information to learn how to practice some important exercises that almost anyone can manage…and ask a family member to join you! Blood clots are NOTHING to ignore…by anyone!

Surgeon General’s Report

Please read this excellent article from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion about exercise for people with any kind of disability…



  • Physical activity need not be strenuous to achieve health benefits.
  • Significant health benefits can be obtained with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily. The same moderate amount of activity can be obtained in longer sessions of moderately intense activities (such as 30-40 minutes of wheeling oneself in a wheelchair) or in shorter sessions of more strenuous activities (such as 20 minutes of wheelchair basketball).
  • Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity. People who can maintain a regular routine of physical activity that is of longer duration or of greater intensity are likely to derive greater benefit.
  • Previously sedentary people who begin physical activity programs should start with short intervals of physical activity (5-10 minutes) and gradually build up to the desired level of activity.
  • People with disabilities should first consult a physician before beginning a program of physical activity to which they are unaccustomed.
  • The emphasis on moderate amounts of physical activity makes it possible to vary activities to meet individual needs, preferences, and life circumstances.


  • People with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity than people without disabilities, yet they have similar needs to promote their health and prevent unnecessary disease.
  • Social support from family and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular physical activity.


  • Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes.
  • Can help people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, improves mood, and promotes general feelings of well-being.
  • Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
  • Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.


  • Provide community-based programs to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
  • Encourage health care providers to talk routinely to their patients with disabilities about incorporating physical activity into their lives.


Excerpted from online information:



Using Exercise to Manage Depression

Quoting an article from the October 4, 2014 online newsletter issue of Emotional Health Daily Newsletter, posted by Everyday Health, Inc., 4 Marshall Street, North Adams, MA 01247
Author: Diana Rodriguez
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

A regular exercise routine can help relieve stress and depression. But first you’ll need to find the energy to get started.

There are many ways to manage depression. Therapy and medication are often the mainstays of depression treatment, but simple lifestyle changes, particularly developing and maintaining a regular exercise routine, can benefit people with depression and improve stress management.

There’s little doubt that exercise can be very effective in managing the symptoms of depression — research backs it up, says Erik Nelson, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.

For mild depression, studies show that “exercise can be very helpful in eliminating symptoms for some people,” says Dr. Nelson. “For people with more significant depression, it may not work completely on its own, but can be part of a regimen of treatments.” Exercise can certainly enhance the effects of medication or therapy, he adds.

Experts don’t know exactly how exercise eases stress and depression, Nelson says, but studies suggest it causes biological changes in the brain. It may be that a physiological response to stress, which can worsen depression symptoms, is improved with exercise. Following an exercise routine can also bolster self-esteem, which is important for someone dealing with depression. “Psychologically, it helps people feel better about themselves,” says Nelson.

Many people struggle to find the energy to exercise. For someone with depression, committing to an exercise routine can be even tougher, since a lack of motivation and low energy levels are classic symptoms of depression.

“It’s a paradox — something that could really help, but is hard sometimes for people to initiate,” says Nelson. However, people with depression can develop a successful exercise routine.

Try these tips to find the motivation and energy to start and maintain an exercise routine:

  • Consider exercise part of your treatment. You can ask your doctor or therapist for ideas to make exercise an integral component of your prescribed plan and get advice for sticking with it.
  • Work out with company. Finding a workout buddy or joining an exercise program can be a great motivator, Nelson says. (Our class members can attest to the truth of that advice!) Since people with depression tend to withdraw socially, the social interaction will provide an additional benefit.
  • Start slowly and work your way up. Recognizing your fitness level and setting small, realistic goals is very important for keeping a positive attitude about exercise. Trying to do too much too soon — and being unsuccessful — can be a huge step backward for people with depression. It can “feed into the depression,” Nelson says, whereas gradually building your strength and reaching your goals can create a sense of satisfaction.
  • Do what you can. Experts recommend exercising between four and six days per week for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. If that seems unrealistic for you, start with shorter workout sessions, or work out fewer days. Every step you take and every minute you exercise will benefit your mind and body.
  • Find an activity you enjoy. Yoga and other mind-body exercises are great for people with depression because they work the body while focusing and calming the mind. You can also try playing sports, swimming, hiking, or going for a walk in pleasant surroundings. If you choose an activity that you look forward to, exercising won’t be a chore.
  • Once you’ve started an exercise routine, you’ve overcome a big hurdle. But you have to keep it up to maintain the benefits. Even when your depression symptoms are well-managed, Nelson says, a regular exercise routine will help keep depressive episodes at bay.

Make time for stretching every day!

You can stretch anytime, anywhere — in your home, at work or when you’re traveling. But if you have a chronic condition or an injury, you may need to alter your approach. For example, if you have a strained muscle, stretching it as you usually do may cause further harm. Talk with your doctor or a physical therapist about the best way for you to stretch.

As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don’t exercise regularly, you may want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. If you have a problem area, such as tightness in the back of your leg, you may want to stretch every day or even twice a day.

Think about ways you can fit stretching into your daily schedule. For example:

  • Stretch before getting out of bed. Try a few gentle head-to-toe stretches by reaching your arms above your head and pointing your toes.
  • Do some stretches after your morning shower or bath. That way, you can shorten your warm-up routine because the warm water will raise muscle temperature and prepare your muscles for stretching.
  • Sign up for a yoga or tai chi class. You’re more likely to stick with a program if you’re registered for a class.

(Advice paraphrased from the Mayo Clinic web site)


Good Advice from the Mayo Clinic

The following information is paraphrased from the Mayo Clinic’s web site…

When challenging yourself to create strength and flexibility, change how hard, long and often you work out. The trick is to avoid doing so much that you end up hurt or burned out. Make a smart and safe transition with these tips.

Start by assessing where you’re at now, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.

What you already do (exercise mode), including cardio exercise and strength training
How hard you work (intensity)
How often you do it (frequency)
How long you do it (duration)
Set new goals

Next, take a look at specific, realistic goals you can set to improve your fitness level. Maybe you can jog or swim for 45 minutes, rather than 30. Or you could add flexibility exercises into your routine.

Do more
The best way to improve your fitness level is to increase your exercise intensity. Intensity refers to how hard you work. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone will help you to get the most effective results possible. If you exercise at a lower intensity, you’ll need to work out for longer sessions or more often to achieve the same fitness effects. In building up, first increase the frequency of your activity (number of days a week). As you become more fit, increase the length of each workout and finally the intensity.

To increase the intensity of your workout:

Move more briskly. The faster you move your body, the more work you’ll do within a given time.
Increase resistance.
For strength training, gradually lift more weight.

But don’t overdo it!
If you exercise too intensely, you run the risk of an overuse injury or fatigue and burnout. To avoid over-training, increase your total exercise time, distance or intensity gradually. Alternate hard and easy workouts from one day to the next, and build in time for rest and recovery.

Once you’ve reached a new fitness level, take a moment to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come!

Robin Williams…helping others through humor and kindness

The news coverage surrounding the death of actor Robin Williams took yet another path with a statement provided by his wife, Susan Schneider, that he was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s Disease. We believe sharing her words is important far beyond the details of how he chose to end his life.

“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the front lines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid.” “

Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.” “

Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety, as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly. It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”

Actor Michael J. Fox tweeted Thursday evening that he was “stunned” by the news that Williams had the disease. “Pretty sure his support for our (foundation) predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace.” Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991.

A little rain storm didn’t stop our Danvers exercise!

Despite the rain and wind this morning that the weather people warned would cause flash flooding, instructors Linda and Marilyn were joined by new friends Diane, Gayle, Bobbie, Mike, Jack, and Linda C.

The Danvers Senior Center is a lovely facility and we’re pleased to be able to share our program there with such a friendly, enthusiastic, committed group of people. All that swinging, swaying, stepping, and singing made the time go by quickly!

Thanks for all the effort you put in today! We hope you make one of your goals repeated visits in the upcoming weeks…together and individually you can face Parkinson’s challenges with an “I can”, rather than an “I can’t” attitude!

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!

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