Functional Fitness

LogoFunctional Fitness- Not your average exercise program

A word to the newly diagnosed- If you are still in reasonably good physical condition, do not slack off.
Keep exercising. Keep playing sports. Keeping active will keep you out of a wheel chair.
Delay the Disease: Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease book and DVD will help you a lot.
A word to the rest- It is never too late to start exercising and never too early.   Every movement can be controlled with practice-  You can reverse you PD symptoms with exercise and practice.Stretching is important- You have PD every day. Do something for your PD every day. It can’t get better without a persistent attitude to improve yourself.Stretch before you get out of bed. Stretch at the table. Stretch while reading or watching TV.ADPA and NPF both have Free books on stretching

Silver Sneakers is good for beginners also.


BIG movement is better. PD is trying to curl you up into a ball. Resist it. Stretch, Reach, take BIG steps, lift your feet high. The movement you think you are doing is a lot smaller than you think. Have someone tell you if you look normal.

-Practice hand writing BIG, fill up the whole page with giant letters, do this after some exercise.

-Side step as BIG as you can and count LOUD with each step. Have someone hold onto you if needed.

-Walk forward 10 Steps counting LOUD 1 to 10 (as LOUD as you can) and repeat- (Mark 2 places in your house which are about 10 steps apart and count loud every time you pass those spots. Next time see if you can walk it in 9 steps.)

-Reach as far UP as you can to the right (while sitting or stand and touch a spot on the wall) and touch the floor to the left 10 times. Repeat on other side. Have someone near by to help if you get off balance or stand in a corner. Too easy- hold a weight in your hand

How much is good? Don’t hurt yourself. If you can’t get a physical therapists or personal trainer to help try this:

10-15 repetitions of each exercise. That should slightly elevate your heart rate and breathing. Try 5-15 more for a total of 20-30. This should ache some while doing the exercise, but quickly feel normal again after stopping. A slightly elevated heart rate is good, but you should still be able to talk without difficulty. Too easy? Add more weight or more repetitions. Can’t get to 15? – decrease weight.

Good exercise routines will last 30-60 minutes. If that is too much split it up into 2 or 3 sessions each day. Make sure to pick exercises which will strengthen chest, back and core muscles. This will help your posture and walking.

ADPA and NPF now both have books on exercise that are FREE. If you not in good shape or have not done an exercise program before, they are a good place to start. If you are in better physical shape you will want to get the Delay the Disease: Exercise and PD book or a cardio- fitness program. The YMCA has good programs. Pedaling for Parkinson’s is available at some YMCAs including, Mill Creak YMCA.

Get walking– Count your steps out loud and concentrate on taking BIG steps. Try working up to 100 steps without stopping. If you have balance problems, wear a chest belt and have a partner to walk with you who can catch you if you loose your balance. (Do not hold onto your partner’s hand. This will help you fall.) Practice walking BIG LONG steps and walking will get easier. Timid walking will make you fall more in the long run. Check out the recommended books (Delay and Disease and PD & the Art of Moving) for best instructions.

Posture Check– I like to call posture check every 15 minutes in the car or watching TV. This includes sitting up tall, looking over right shoulder then left (don’t do this second part if you’re driving) and then flexing the ankles.

Attitude – Attitude effects every aspect of your life now as it always did. It is the single most important aspect of controlling your PD

1.  Smile – 10 times a day for 1 minute each time- Smiling is shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain, even fake smiling. It will also make your spouse and friends happier.

2.Positive statements– “I am Happy!”
“I love life.”
“Life is good.”
“I may have Parkinson’s, but it doesn’t have me!”

Post these on the bathroom mirror or other frequented spot in the house and say them out loud with gusto every time you see them.

3.Be Grateful– Say “thank-you” and “please” often.

If you haven’t noticed people are helping you a lot more than they used to. Be kind to them and treat them with a smile and “thank you.”

Write down 5 things you’re grateful every day and watch your life improve.

4.Watch and listen to positive things. The TV is full of negative news and it will be there forever. It negatively effects your PD. Would you take a pill everyday to make your PD worse? Then cut back on the negative news if you want to walk better. Get the TV out of the bedroom. You don’t need another excuse to be in bed!

5.Read positive materials – Get those old Positive Mental Attitude books out of the attic. They really do help if you take them seriously.

I highly recommend you start with Being Happy by Andrew Matthews. It’s easy to read. For under $15 you can have a mental attitude makeover. Happiness in Hard times is great, but it’s not for wimps.

Books on Exercise for PD

I highly recommend Delay the Disease –Exercise books for Parkinson’s. Www.DelayThe Get the DVD and you can have your own class at home. It includes Cardio exercises at all levels and stretching.

John Argue- Parkinson’s Disease and the Art of Moving has an simple thoughtful movement program set up in 10 lessons. It is NOT a cardio-intensive program- DVD also available to lead you through the program.

ADPA- Be Active! Exercise Program for PD is mostly stretching, some strengthening. It’s a Good start for beginners. Good info on stretching for everyone. 1-800-223-2732

NPF-PD Fitness Counts Good for stretching and leads you through more of what to look for in strengthening routine – (305) 243-6666

Continue reading Functional Fitness


Parkinson School:  Providing Hope for Free

Dedicated to Larry Dale ChristensenThe purpose of the Parkinson School for Change is to educate everyone on how to reverse Parkinson’s symptoms. This information has been available for years for those willing to search for it.  Nothing magic, just practice what is hard for you and some ideas on how to make your practice most effective. Our hope is to have all the information you need or links to that information, so that you can help yourself control your PD with little or no cost.For info, contact:
(206) 920 – 1151
info @ ParkinsonSchoolForChange .org
PO BOX 2063
Woodinville, WA 98072

Being healthy shouldn’t cost a lot of money.
Use it or Lose it – Fitness and Control Classes  2015
at Edmonds Senior Center,  220 Railroad, Edmonds WA
Tuesdays at 3 PM

We provide HOPE!
We believe information should be freeThe Parkinson School for Change is to educate everyone on how to reverse Parkinson’s symptoms. This information has been already available for those willing to search for it.  Exercise programs which reverse PD symptoms are covered by Medicare (example LSVTglobal) and some other insurance plans, so this is medically approved not some miracle cure.Plans are that this web-site will have
– physical exercise plans for all PD stages
– mental exercise recommendations and books to help you regain happiness.
-testimonies for and links to other PD people and how they regained their mobility
-links to PD related web-sites that will be useful.

The Bottom line is we want you to get healthier and we know how to help you.  Don’t let anyone tell you that PD can’t be reversed.  Exercise has been known (scientifically proven) to reverse PD for over 20 years, but your doctor or physical therapists might not know.  (If you have a doctor who doesn’t know the importance of exercise for PD, find one who does.)  Some people still think that those with PD should be careful and rest a lot.

Use it or lose it!
Lets get started.
The first thing is to fix your attitude.  I know that happens when you are diagnosed.  You say; “I’m going to die with PD.  I’m going to bed.”
  This it the best way to make your symptoms worse.  Statistics show that the average person with PD lives as long as the average person without PD.  Are you going to practice becoming a vegetable for the next 20 years or are you going to practice being healthy?

You might think this is crazy, but there will be a time when you will tell people that you have PD and they will say “you’re lucky you have PD.”  Why? Because you have a reason to exercise and keep moving and they don’t.  Between the ages of 50 and 70 most people reduce their activities and physical excursion.  You won’t.  You have a reason to keep moving.

Step 1. Attitude
A.  Thank you mam!

  Start saying thank you and please to everyone for everything.  Some of you are killing your care partners just from ingratitude.  Believe me!  You become a grouch when you got PD; lets reverse that.

B. Smile.
You don’t have to want to.  Just do it.  10 minutes a day smile on purpose.  That’s 1 minute every hour.  Set the timer or look at the clock and smile for 1 minute.  Get the edges of your mouth turned up.  It has been shown that even a pretend smile (i.e. sticking a pencil in you mouth to turn up the corners) will increase the dopamine in your brain.  Your brain doesnt know the difference between real and fake smiling.  Will you look stupid? Not as bad as that grouchy face you’ve been showing everyone does.

C.  Positive statements
Put on the bathroom mirror  and repeat loudly every time you go.
I am Happy!
I have a wonderful life!
I am grateful for all the help I get.
I love people. 

My life is just beginning and I have a wonderful future ahead.

I may have Parkinson’s, but it doesn’t have me!

Step 2:  Move
“Use it or lose it” needs to become your motto!
I will be providing stretching and exercise routines, but just start moving.

TV – Get the TV out of your bedroom.  You don’t need any excuses to go to bed.
When you do watch TV stand up every 15 minutes and reach for the ceiling, do a several small squats to get your ankles flexible.  The majority of falls are caused by lack of ankle flexibility.

Car time.  Do a posture check every 15 minutes.  Posture check is: Sit up as straight as you can with your head up high or a minute.

Sitting around where you can’t stand?
  Wiggle toes and ankles.
Join an exercise class.
You are most likely to exercise with other people.  Most senior or community centers have exercise classes.  You may have PD classes in your area for very low cost.
Walk everyday on purpose (not just from the door to the car.)  – EVERY day.

That’s a start.  If you haven’t been exercising regularly use some common sense. Cardiologists recommend about 40 minutes of cardio a day. That works well for PD too, but build up to it.  After exercising you should be tired enough that you want to sit down for a while; not go back to bed.  You should be getting your heart rate up high enough so you can’t sing, but you should be able to talk still.  By the way singing will help you keep your voice strong, don’t matter how bad you sing, do it!

Parkinson School info Call Jennifer at (206) 920-1151
jennifer @ ParkinsonSchoolForChange .org
PO BOX 2063
Woodinville, WA 98072