Ten years ago, when I was 72 years of age, I first felt the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. I noticed that my third finger on my right hand was trembling just a little. It did this on its own without me trying to do it. I simply put it out of my mind. A few days later it happened again and weeks would go by between occurrences. We were relocating to the west coast and as soon as I found time I found a family doctor and told him what I had discovered. He arranged for me to see a neurologist who affirmed my suspicion that I had Parkinson’s disease!
He advised me to wait to begin taking medication for my symptoms so they could present themselves more clearly. I soon found a Parkinson’s support group and began to attend their meetings. From these meetings I began to get a better understanding of what this disease is all about.
- First and foremost, many people have it as well as other diseases similar to Parkinson’s.
- There is no cure for the disease.
- The disease can be held at bay by exercise.
Then I began to read whatever I could about PD and what goes on in my brain as I exercise. That was the interesting part as it seems that if I exercise my brain and body, the disease symptoms will not be able to gain ground. I also listened to a great many people with PD who are fighting it with exercise as well. So this is what I do to keep up the fight with this disease.
Walk and walk some more.
Walking is the best exercise a person can do for their health. I am very fortunate that I have a wonderful wife and partner who has walked with me for years. We increased our walking by taking a morning and evening walk. Generally we cover about four miles a day. We move as quickly as two 82-year-old people can move. The important thing is to do it every single day. If it is raining, wear a raincoat or use an umbrella. If it is cold, wear a proper coat. If it is doing all of that, head for a mall or a big box store such as Walmart, Home Depot or Lowes where they have wide aisles and lots of room. Get in the habit of never missing the daily walks. We find that two walks are better than one as we don’t get tired after the first one and we look forward to our second walk later.
Now for the brain.
You need to make the brain get some exercise. I find the best brain exercise for me is solving crossword puzzles. Sudoku is another test that makes a person use the brain to solve the puzzles. Scrabble puzzles, word scramblers, and cryptograms will put a person’s brain to the test. Jigsaw puzzles are excellent task masters.
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, fretting and looking at the dark side will get you nowhere. Fortunately, there is an answer. After 10 years of fighting it, people I know and meet hardly know I have Parkinson’s. Give these body and brain exercises a try!