If you’re old enough, you may remember the catchy rhythm in Frank Sinatra’s daughter Nancy’s recording of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. We’ve used that song in some of our exercise classes to showcase how humming or singing while practicing certain movements can actually improve the effort being made. Music can reach parts of the brain that control how the body responds to rhythm and actually improve not only speech volume, swallowing and breath control, but also unsteadying gait challenges caused by Parkinson’s.
Read more from this interesting article posted on line by Parkinson’s News Today. Then, see if you remember these lyrics and apply them to the fight against Parkinson’s: “These boots are made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days, these boots are gonna walk all over YOU.”
“Healthcare providers say that hallmark signs of nOH, including dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and feeling faint after standing, can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s disease. People may believe that their nOH symptoms are part of their Parkinson’s and something they have to learn to live with. It’s only once a healthcare provider connects the symptoms of being lightheaded or faint after standing to a drop in blood pressure that an nOH diagnosis may be possible.”(https://www.nohmatters.com/how-neurogenic-orthostatic-hypotension-occurs/parkinsons-dizzy)
Keith and Linda Hall’s lives are affected by Keith’s nOH symptoms. Read here about what’s happened to them and what steps they’ve taken to live with a difficult but manageable diagnosis.
Lifestyle changes for Keith and others include:*
Drinking more water
Adjusting the amount of salt in your diet
Avoiding carbohydrate-heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol
Wearing compression stockings or an abdominal binder
Elevating the head of your bed
Slowly rising when standing
Using caution when walking or changing positions if you feel dizzy
Getting regular exercise (*Ask your healthcare provider for guidelines and advice on lifestyle modifications that would work best for you.)
“Poor posture is a hallmark feature of Parkinson’s disease. This stooped positioning has been associated with increased muscle rigidity or stiffness. The typical Parkinson’s posture includes: forward head, rounded shoulders, increased thoracic kyphosis, increased flexion of the trunk, and bending of the knees.”
How can poor posture affect you?
Difficulty speaking clearly and loudly
Difficulty with moving your neck and upper extremities
Change your perception of your body’s position in space
Can alter balance and lead to falls from having your weight shifted forward
Decrease strength of postural muscles
Headaches and TMJ pain
(Meredith Defranco, “Parkinson’s Treatment Tips” published March 1, 2012, Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at University of Florida Health)
A May 22, 2019 article in Parkinson’s News Today offers insight into assessment results from a controlled study that utilized a four-week trunk-specific, posture-correcting rehabilitation program: “Forward bending of the spine, known as disease-related forward trunk flexion (FTF), is a common complication observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease. FTF can result in permanent postural imbalance, pain, frequent falls, and irreversible deformities. Early detection and rehabilitation efforts through focused physical therapy can help in reducing pain and delay motor symptoms progression. However, information is limited on FTF rehabilitative efforts in Parkinson’s patients.” – Vijaya IyerRead more here
If you can relate to others who experience episodes of having your feet “freeze” in place while you’re on your way elsewhere, you likely also have postural instability, meaning your balance is impaired. Quoting from an online article from the Parkinson Foundation, “…these symptoms can cause falling, resulting in a multitude of injuries, a loss of personal freedom, caregiver stress and a reduction in the quality of life (Pirker & Katzenschlager, 2017; Samotus, Parrent, & Jog, 2018). …Current PD medications, therapies or surgical procedures do not effectively address this debilitating unmet need. This lack of options might be changing, due to an intervention called spinal cord stimulation (SCS).”
Information contained in the study is so worth reading and discussing with your movement specialist or neurologist. Don’t pass this by! The results of this study may provide a new gateway to a new “gait way”! READ MORE HERE
Quoting information provided in a Michael J. Fox Foundation Foxfeed blog post titled “Ask the MD: Music as Medicine for the Mind”…
“In certain diseases, like Parkinson’s, the brain rhythm in the circuit controlling movement gets off track. …Playing music exercises the mind and body. It provides a route for social interaction. In drawing someone into its rhythm, it can calm a resting tremor, break a freezing spell and bring gait into a more normal pattern. Music can boost memory, lessen depression, and improve the volume and tone of speech.” (https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?music-as-medicine-for-the-mind)
Join our new MedRhythms 8-week neurologic percussion series beginning on Wednesday afternoons from 1-2 PM at the Danvers Community YMCA starting May 1st! Beat a combination of drums, smack a boomwacker, shake maracas…and SO much more! The series is limited to 30 people – take a chance on something new, motivating, beneficial, and fun. Register early by emailing email@example.com to be part of this pilot opportunity here in our area!
We’re pleased to introduce Michael Reyes, newest owner of the Salem Fitness Center, where we hold regular Thursday and Saturday boxing and conditioning classes! As the most recent instructor to help join the fight against Parkinson’s, Michael is far from new to the wellness field. Here’s a glimpse into his career background…
Michael is an experienced personal trainer with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. He is skilled in coaching, wellness coaching, fitness training, athletics, and team building. He is a strong community and social services professional with a BS degree focused in economics and management from Norwich University.
Michael has installed a brand new ring in the boxing area at the center. Think that’s too difficult for you? THINK AGAIN AND POSITIVELY! A few of our members have already successfully climbed in to work “on the ropes” trying new agility techniques and stamina-building routines!
Kim Crowley will continue providing her great strength-building and conditioning workouts in her other class locations. Michael understands that Parkinson’s wants to do whatever it can to challenge you, so visualize it as the opponent it is and punch back as hard as you can! You can DO this and Michael is ready to show you how!
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:
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 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.
Diana Daly, bottom row, 4th from left
Elaine Boone, top row, 3rd from right
Devera Ehrenberg, center row, far right
Parkinson’s Fitness Balance in Motion instructor Dianna Daly (https://parkinsonsfitness.org/about-fitness/class-instructors/) was recently invited by Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OT, FQOTA and professor of the OT Department at Tufts University to participate as one of their guest faculty-staff participants at a university-sponsored Dance for Healthy Aging with Parkinson’s Disease workshop. The goal of the workshop was teaching Tufts OT students how to interact directly and collaboratively with people with Parkinson’s. To help accomplish the goal, Dianna invited two of her local Parkinson’s Fitness class members to accompany her to the event.
Showcasing the incredibly successful work in the field of dance to augment medical technologies used in combatting the progressively debilitating nature of Parkinson’s were David Leventhal, Program Director and founding teacher of the nationally acclaimed Dance for PD program, a nonprofit collaboration of MMDG and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group that leads dance classes around the world (https://danceforparkinsons.org/), and Pamela Quinn, professional dancer and Parkinson’s consultant for people with Parkinson’s, who has lived with her Parkinson’s diagnosis for over 20 years (https://pdmovementlab.com/about). Pam’s personal experience of dance and Parkinson’s gives her a unique perspective from which to analyze physical function, and to imagine creative solutions to the problems posed by Parkinson’s.
According to Quinn, “Dance by its very nature contributes to everyday health: working and stretching muscles leads to strength and flexibility; learning and remembering movement tones the brain; touch and partnering provide social contact, and creative context promotes expression and use of the imagination. People of any age, especially the elderly, need movement, fun, challenge, and connection. This workshop allowed participants to experience all those things first hand and helped them understand how to create such an environment for others as well.”
Quoting Dianna after the workshop experience: “It was great to be there alongside Devera and Elaine to represent our Parkinson’s Fitness community.”
Elaine Boone, one of Dianna’s class members, offers her experience of attending the event: “I really enjoy going to anything that will give me support and, even more, ways to keep me moving. The dance session was very uplifting. Pam and David made the exercises fun and us all so much good advice. Everyone with Parkinson’s should watch Pam’s videos. As someone with Parkinson’s herself, she has discovered so many different moves that can keep us all going. And I enjoyed working with the students. The more they can see people with Parkinson’s and what symptoms we have and what we can do to slow the progression down, the better for them.
Without programs and the wonderful people who give of their time, we would be lost. We couldn’t do it without you all, and thank you for inviting me to the sessions. Please keep up your wonderful work!”
Devera Ehrenberg, another member in Dianna’s classes, shares her positive experience: “The Dance for Health Aging day was full of wonderful exercises we created – starting with the introduction. Bach (or Mozart) filled the room and we moved to the music, creating our own dance, and what followed were flowing movements to other ideas we created. We broke into small groups. The one I was in created paintings – Jackson Pollock throwing paint on a canvas on the floor, or Seurat, lots of dots, etc., as other groups created movements for their ideas. Such wonderful, freeing movements! My Parkinson’s faded away and that lasted , for me, into the next day. I spent the next morning inventing dance movements! I loved it! Thanks for this opportunity.”
Something to remember: Pamela Quinn will join us as one of our presenters during the next Parkinson’s Fitness educational symposium on the North Shore in September. Be sure to watch for all the exciting details as we post them during the next couple of months!