Parkinson’s Disease and Balance training – why is it so important?

Today, Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwick, PymbleBalmain, Neutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne, and Barrie, Ontario – Canada  discuss why balance training is so important for clients with Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease (PD)?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, and incurable neurological condition largely resulting from the degeneration of dopamine producing cells in the basal ganglia. PD is the second most common neurological disease in Australia after dementia, with approximately 80,000 people living with PD in Australia and 1 in 5 being diagnosed before the age of 50.

PD is a brain disorder that causes motor dysfunction and uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, slowness, and coordination difficulty. PD causes major functional impairments and disability causing impaired balance, mobility, locomotion, and an increased risk of falling. Hence, exercise and specific balance training is needed and of benefit to this population.

“PD is a manageable condition with regular exercise and balance training decreasing the rate of functional decline with PD progression.”

Benefits Of Exercise in PD
  • Evidence demonstrates that exercise improves balance, mobility, gait performance, quality of life, reduces disease severity, and improves aerobic capacity in individuals with PD.
  • Regular exercise can decrease or delay secondary effects on musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems that occur as a result of reduced physical activity.
  • Exercise might also play a neuroprotective role in individuals with PD.
Recommendations For Balance Training in PD
  • Static and dynamic balance training
  • Balance training during functional activities
  • Dual tasking/multi-tasking activities

Examples include:

  • Standing balance, semi tandem and tandem balance, single leg balance and heel toe walking
  • Step up and step downs
  • Obstacle courses and walking and talking

Balance training improves motor control and reduces the risk of falls. Because PD is a chronic progressive disease, exercise adherence is necessary to maintain benefits. When prescribing exercise for PD management there should be a focus on principles rather than modes. Exercise should be safe, fun, individualised, challenging, specific (powerful, loud, intense), and performed daily.

“Balance training improves motor control and reduces the risk of falls.”

PD carries various complexities, safety precautions and special considerations and Longevity EP’s are specialised in PD exercise prescription and training. Our practitioners offer the highest quality services in exercise professions to optimise client overall health and wellbeing long-term.

If you or someone you know has PD and is interested in exercise and balance training Longevity Exercise Physiologists are here to help. Call Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwick, PymbleBalmain, Neutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne. and Barrie, Ontario – Canada on 1300 964 002 to enquire today!


Written By Matt Skelly

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