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Exercise and Parkinson's

Awen Davies who has Parkinson's and her teenage daughters using the Wii for exercise

Exercise is good for everyone and is especially important for people with Parkinson's as muscles and joints tend to get stiff and rigid.

I have now been exercising regularly for six years and am convinced that my symptoms are not as obvious and that the progression of my Parkinson’s is slower.

Denise Webster

This section looks at the health benefits of exercise and how to find a local exercise class.

It also gives advice on exercising at home and takes a look at research into Parkinson's and exercise.

Regular routine

A regular exercise routine can help you maintain your abilities, strengthen your muscles, increase mobility in your joints and build up your general fitness and health.

Making exercise part of your regular routine provides a sense of achievement and can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

Research on Parkinson's and exercise

Recent research in animal models of Parkinson's has shown that exercise seems to protect the dopamine-producing nerve cells that are lost in Parkinson's, helping them work better and survive for longer.

This could potentially slow down the progression of Parkinson's - something no current treatment can do.

Research into the effect of exercise in people with Parkinson's has shown some promising results including improvements in mobility and balance but as yet the long term benefits of exercise are not fully understood.

Our free Keeping Moving - Exercise and Parkinson's booklet and DVD provides an easy to follow exercise programme for people with Parkinson's.

Our Keeping Moving information sheet is for physiotherapists and other health and social care professionals. It explains the rationale behind the exercise programme.

Nintendo Wii and Parkinson's

Using the Wii is brilliant. My fitness and co-ordination have definitely improved.

There is growing evidence that Parkinson's symptoms could be controlled by using the Nintendo Wii games console.

The Nintendo Wii allows you to exercise at home. You can choose from many different activities that provide a workout for different parts of the body.

Read our Parkinson's and the Wii page to find out more.

Complementary therapies and Parkinson's

Researchers are also looking at different types of exercise, including tai chi, tango dancing, gym training and hydrotherapy.

Take a look at our Complementary therapies and Parkinson's booklet to see if other therapies may be suitable for you.