8 ways to get active with Parkinson’s - and stay motivated

Physical activity and exercise can be just as important as your medication to help you take control and manage your symptoms. 

But sometimes you might not feel motivated to exercise. This might be because you don’t enjoy it, or you’re not usually very active. 

Here we share some tips for getting active and staying motivated.

Make physical activity part of your daily routine

Build activity into other things you do. This could be 5 minutes of stretching when watching television, or moving on the spot while you wait for the kettle to boil. You could try washing the dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher.

If you find standing up takes a lot of effort, try sitting and standing up from your chair 3 times. Do this each time you stand up. 

If you go for daily walks, could you walk a bit faster?

If you’re new to physical activity, or aren’t very active, try getting out of the house once a day. One small step leads to another. Or try going up and down the stairs a bit more often.

Prepare the night before

The night before you exercise, lay out the clothes you’re going to wear. That way, when you wake up in the morning, you don’t have to think about what you need. You can just get dressed and get moving.

Get fit with others

Exercising with someone else is a great way to stay motivated. This can be a partner, friend or family member. You can support and cheer each other on while you work out. This can help if your motivation starts to dip. 

Even if you’re not physically together, you can agree to do the same activity each day, and tell each other how you did afterwards.

Many Parkinson’s UK local groups run exercise classes, from pilates to aerobics. These are led by exercise professionals.

Find your local group.

Try an online class

If you can’t get out, or would rather exercise on your own, there are lots of online videos you watch at home, at your own pace.

Try our home-based exercise classes. They’re all specific to Parkinson’s symptoms and are aimed at different levels of ability.

Set yourself goals

Setting goals is another good way to boost motivation. For example, increasing the amount of times you repeat the same exercise, each time you do it. 

Each day you do something, tick it off on your calendar. Or use a fitness app or fitness tracker (a device you can wear on your wrist that monitors progress) to record how much you’ve achieved.

Keep it varied and fun

Put on your favourite music while you’re exercising. Or try a new activity every so often, if you can. 

Keeping things varied will help it feel more enjoyable, rather than a chore. 

Reward yourself

Reward yourself after you’ve been active. Treat yourself to a slice of cake, or go for a coffee with a friend. It can be anything, as long as it keeps you motivated.

Speak to an expert

If you're just starting to get active, talk to a physiotherapist who knows about Parkinson’s. They can give you more advice on planning the right activity for you. 

Speak to your GP or Parkinson's nurse about arranging a referral.