An Important Message about Exercise from PASD’s Medical Director
Dear Parkinson’s Community:
It has come to my attention as well as to my fellow movement disorder specialists, that due to these unprecedented COVID times, which has drastically affected access to exercise facilities, many Parkinson’s patients are not able to be as active as they were prior to the pandemic.
As physicians, what we have been seeing clinically is a dramatic change in disease progression and control of overall Parkinson’s symptoms since the start of the pandemic. Although, there are a number of variables that may be causing this effect, like stress, anxiety, or illness, the common thread seems to be a lack of exercise. It is a well known fact, as has been reported in the literature, that exercise has the ability to slow disease progression in Parkinson’s disease and even modulate symptoms when patients adhere to a regular routine regimen that involves Aerobic exercise of at least 3-4 days per week.
Some patients have taken it upon themselves to try to remain active by increasing their daily walking as a substitute for going to the gym or taking an exercise class. Although, we would encourage you to try to remain active, doing whatever exercise you can, it does not appear that walking alone makes for a good substitute for regular routine aerobic exercise at a gym or from an exercise class. I have had many patients tell me that they even increased the duration and frequency of walking and yet still they are doing more poorly in terms of their Parkinson’s symptoms.
Because of the current state we are in with the pandemic, it is of utmost importance to try to remain healthy and keep your Parkinson’s symptoms under control. We want you to know that the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego is here for you and have compiled a list of exercise options that are either pre-recorded online exercise classes or live zoom classes.
Abigail Lawler, MD
Medical Director, PASD
Movement and Memory Disorders Specialist
The Neurology Center of Southern California