“Exercise That’s Tailored and Routine Can Help Patients at All Disease Stages”, Therapist Says…

Michael Braitsch, a kinesiology professor and board-licensed doctor of physical therapy, states that:

Parkinson’s motor symptoms mimic normal aging in many ways — only they’re sped up and intensified.  Because each patient experiences Parkinson’s uniquely, tailored and one-on-one routines are best. Still, he said, group programs with skilled leaders are also worthwhile, fostering consistency, motivation, performance, community, camaraderie, support and idea sharing.

“Depression and isolation  starts a negative feedback loop. So, that’s where a tribe helps,” said Braitsch. …Strength in numbers means we all do better together.”

In a GREAT online post from Parkinson’s News Today, the gist of the entire article mirrors what our Parkinson’s Fitness philosophy has stated and reinforced since we began in 2013! We encourage you to click this link and read the article. You will find many similarities to what we consistently emphasize and encourage! Click below for the article:



Our September 29th “Living Well with Parkinson’s” symposium was attended by 150 people, over 20 supporting information vendors, and highlighted by four great guest speakers!

(left to right: Dr. Terry Ellis, Director, BU Center for Neurorehabilitation – Linda Nikolakopoulos, Registered Dietician and Licensed Nutritionist – Pamela Quinn, PD Dance & Coach, PD Movement Lab, New York – Dr. Albert Hung, Movement Specialist, MA General Hospital)

The printed word cannot possibly portray what became a visible energy field sparking the space provided at the Danvers Community YMCA! Included in the 4-hour program were 2 short but dynamic movement and exercise “samplers” led by Parkinson Fitness Balance and Movement instructor, Dianna Daly, and Strength, Conditioning, Boxing instructor, Kim Crowley. As they do in all their weekly classes, both women had participants willingly joining in “waking up” their bodies and minds in five minutes or less!

Drs. Hung and Ellis emphasized how to optimize time allotted during office visits and physical therapy appointments, as well as the importance of exercise in helping to maintain control over difficult body and cognitive challenges. Linda Nikolakopoulos provided insights into the role diet and nutrition play in remaining healthy and staying strong. Pamela Quinn, diagnosed with PD over 20 years ago, travelled from her own PD Movement Lab in New York (https://pdmovementlab.com/about) to demonstrate strategies for moving and living in “real-life” scenarios. Pam’s vocal exercises to strengthen communication, augmented by hand and arm movements, were a high point for everyone!

Special thanks to everyone involved in making this event an incredible opportunity for learning and participating, with special shout-outs to Lucas Michaud, our photographer from Endicott College in Beverly, to Linda Hall’s friends Sandra Moores and Mary Orne for their assistance with credit card payments, to Suzanne Malach, YMCA liaison, the vendors who supported us financially and provided valuable community information, to the team of Parkinson’s Fitness volunteers who assisted as greeters, registrars, and table helpers…and to Linda Hall, whose tireless efforts built yet another opportunity for motivating people on the North Shore to live well, in spite of their Parkinson’s diagnosis!


When we lose more water than we take in, dehydration sets in. And too many of us just don’t think much about how serious dehydration can become. Why not drink some water RIGHT NOW while clicking here to read some very important facts about the risks of dehydration on our bodies and abilities to think and respond clearly and safely.


The August/September issue of Brain & Life magazine offers an important article about dentist visits for people with neurologic conditions. For this and a great variety of other articles, click on the following link: https://www.brainandlife.org/the-magazine/article/app/14/4/23/dental-visits-made-easier-for-many-people-with-neurologic-conditions

For instance, when scheduling dental visits, time appointments for when medications are the most effective. Because Parkinson’s is progressive, consider replacing old fillings, crowns and bridges during the early stages following diagnosis. Being proactive in managing life care should include telling the dentist if you are taking monoamine oxidase B inhibitors such as rasagiline (Azilect) and selegiline (Emsam) drugs used to treat symptoms such as fatigue, because they can interact with anesthesia and cause adverse reactions.

Brushing and flossing twice a day and avoiding decay-producing foods helps prevent pain, tooth loss, infections, and in extreme cases, death due to abscesses if ignored too long. Hard to hold onto a toothbrush? Try this: make a small slit in a tennis ball and slide the toothbrush handle into it. The ball provides a larger hand grip that many people need, which may encourage more frequent brushing!


Let’s say you’ve noticed recently that your hands have developed an unexplained tremor. You may start prematurely worrying and begin asking yourself or others, “Could I have Parkinson’s disease?” For some, the answer may be yes and should be addressed by a doctor. But for others, hand tremor can be caused by medications prescribed for conditions completely unrelated to Parkinson’s.

An August 9th medical article by Dr. Sharon Orrange, an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, provides this insight about how drug-induced tremors differ from Parkinson’s symptoms.



For many people with a funky sense of humor, they may substitute the first word in the title of this blog entry as “yogurt”, because they tend to shy away from accepting that alternative ways of managing their Parkinson’s symptoms (such as practicing Yoga) can successfully augment taking regular medications. Read on…

An opening statement in the February/March 2017 issue of Brain & Life magazine speaks to the importance of trying new approaches in one’s fight against Parkinson’s: “For people with Parkinson’s disease, yoga has been shown to increase flexibility and posture, ease stiffness, and possibly improve balance”, says Roy Alcalay, MD, assistant professor at Columbia University and medical adviser with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Before starting any exercise program, including yoga, clear it with your doctor. While you consider the positives associated with practicing Yoga, read this article to learn why Parkinson’s Fitness includes Yoga in our programs.

Instructor Heather Tharpe leads her weekly Wednesday class in a wonderful new space at the Greater Beverly YMCA. Click here for a class description, location, and time.

We encourage you to make it a priority to visit Heather’s class and learn first-hand how Yoga can improve your physical strength, flexibility, and balance and create a positive sense of emotional relaxation.


“Strategy without execution
is the slowest route to victory,
and tactics without strategy
is the noise before defeat.”
―Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, a widely influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking.

When your strategy for holding Parkinson’s symptoms at bay is – “I’ll plan for exercise, education, and socialization with others to manage my Parkinson’s” – but then none of it is put into action, Parkinson’s gains another life-robbing victory in the war.

The Parkinson’s Fitness team is here to provide BOTH the strategies and the ways to execute them that fit YOUR abilities! We have a whole variety of classes and programs that address the many challenges Parkinson’s symptoms create. TRY ANY OR ALL OF THEM! Click here for days, times and locations.



Remember watching talented actor Alan Alda in many movies, television series and PBS broadcasts…especially those episodes of “Mash” in which he became a regular favorite in our lives as Army Capt. Hawkeye Pierce? Well, he was recently interviewed on CBS This Morning about his now-public Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Follow the link below to a video to hear him share his story…and his positive outlook…about living with a now all-too-familiar opponent of ours…Parkinson’s. Sorry for the advertisements, but his interview is well worth the annoyance of seeing and listening to any ads.



The “Silent Call” procedure is a unique program in the Massachusetts Enhanced 9-1-1 system that allows a caller who is unable to verbally communicate their emergency over the phone to receive the appropriate response.

If you need to call 9-1-1 and you are unable to speak for any reason, such as a physical disability, domestic violence or home invasion, follow these simple steps using a touch-tone wired telephone or a cell phone:

DIAL 9-1-1 – Once the call is answered:

     POLICEpress 1        FIREpress 2        AMBULANCE – press 3


The 9-1-1 dispatcher may ask questions that require a “yes” or “no” answer.
     YESpress 4             NO – press 5



At last, the long, cold spring is slowly turning itself into warmer summer-like weather. If the lazy, hazy days of summer are beckoning with plans for either staying around the home or travelling, click here for some very important tips on how to have fun, while staying prepared for unexpected situations that arise!

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