Maintaining balance can be difficult for aging adults with Parkinson’s. The condition affects a part of the brain (the basal ganglia) that plays an important role in balance and coordination. For this reason, it’s important for seniors with this disease to continue to exercise as much as possible to maintain mobility and coordination. Below are five of the top exercises that can be beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s.
1. Aerobic Activities
Changes occurring due to the progression of Parkinson’s disease can be countered by exercises that require various parts of the body to work together, which is why aerobic activities can be so beneficial. Gait, flexibility, and balance can be increased with exercises of this nature, which include:
• Traditional or stationary cycling
• Walking at a comfortable pace
• Dancing and other favorite activities requiring coordinated movements
Even a senior in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s can get the benefits of regular exercise, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Oshkosh senior care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
2. Water-Based Exercises
For times when it’s too difficult for your aging loved one to do coordination exercises on land, water-based exercises can provide similar benefits. The natural buoyancy of water eases pressure on bones and joints while still allowing seniors to get healthy workouts. Options for water-based exercise that could be beneficial for aging adults with Parkinson’s include:
• Water aerobics
• Water walking
• Aqua choreography (“water dancing”)
3. Toe and Chair Stands
An effective balance exercise for older adults with Parkinson’s is a chair stand, which is done by starting from a seated position in a chair without arms. Shoulders are kept back and straight and arms are extended outward while slowly standing up. No hands are used while going from a sitting to a standing position. However, you can stay next to your loved one in case he or she needs some extra support.
If chair stands are too difficult for your loved one because of Parkinson’s limitations, try toe stands instead. This coordination exercise is done by:
• Standing behind a chair
• Using the chair only for support
• Slowing raising up on the toes
• Holding the position for a few seconds before lowering the heels to the floor
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Oshkosh respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
4. Leg Raises
In addition to strengthening the muscles in the lower back, hips, and buttocks, leg raises help with balance, coordination, and posture problems, which are common in older adults with Parkinson’s. Leg raises target muscles in the lower back partially responsible for balance and coordination while also correcting forward head and shoulder issues. There are many variations of leg raises, but a good way to get started is by standing next to a chair and taking the following steps:
• Raising one leg and moving it forward
• Lifting one leg to the side while slightly bending the supporting leg
• Raising one leg and moving it backward without bending the supporting leg
Legs are alternated after doing about 10 repetitions, which can be done by turning around or moving the chair to the other side.
5. Yoga and Tai Chi
Both yoga and tai chi are controlled-movement exercises that can help older adults with Parkinson’s maintain balance and coordination in a way that’s safe and gentle. The techniques involved with both of these disciplines help with a wide range of coordination-related issues, including stability, range of motion, leg strength, posture, and reflexes.
Seniors with Parkinson’s who need help exercising safely can benefit from the help of a trained professional caregiver. At-home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (920) 573-6295 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.