My client has Parkinson's Disease (although he is waiting for this to be confirmed by his doctor). He has a good level of fitness as he is a football referee, but he tires easily. Could you please tell me if there are any exercises I could carry out that would benefit him?
As you may already know, Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative neurochemical condition that involves a specific area of the brainstem. The cause of PD is unknown; however, exercise guidelines do exist. Please utilize the guidelines while applying your expertise and professional judgment, as all guidelines lack individuality.
- Apply active range of motion exercises that are gentle and controlled. A gentle controlled approach will avoid tissue damage.
- Apply deep breathing exercises that encourage chest expansion and extension. Please see the many breathing books available at Amazon.com. (Also, Paul Chek has a new book that talks about breathing exercises.)
- Teach your client how to stretch in the morning when rising and frequently throughout the day. It is important to teach him to take care of his health outside of the time you are with him.
- Apply exercises that emphasize and retrain the following joint movements: triple extension (Ankle dorsiflexion, knee extension and hip extension), spinal extension, shoulder extension and scapular adduction.
- Apply exercises that will enhance everyday function (squat, lunge, pushing, pulling, pressing, stepping as opposed to leg press, bench press).
- Perform all movements slowly and rhythmically to reduce rigidity.
- Add auditory cueing if timing becomes a problem.
- Always remind your client of proper posture. Clients with PD tend to stoop their posture (which is why the exercises listed promote extension).
In closing, clients with PD tend to become depressed. Therefore, ask for continual feedback to discern between lack of motivation and the ill effects of the disease. Set goals for your client, and give hope! The key is to teach them to relax. Look up the book Relaxercise on Amazon.com; it's a great reference for your client!