Exercise. I got pretty good at exercising when I lost 60 pounds 5 years ago. I was disciplined and exercised 5-7 days each week. I even walked a half marathon in 2015 It worked and I felt good. Then, as healthy life changes go, I kindof fell off the wagon. I managed to keep the weight off (most of it). But I wasn’t exercising as much as I had been. At my second opinion appointment, the doctor told me that the only thing that has been proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s is exercise. Every day. Three times a week won’t cut it. That was all he had to say. I have exercised every day since my appointment. I’ve even started getting up,at 5:45 so I can exercise before work. I am finding that exercising before work gives me energy, makes me less stiff, and really lifts my mood. I have struggled with apathy, anxiety, and depression from the PD. Exercise helps level my mood. When I exercised to lose weight 5 years ago, it was to be healthier and look better. Today I exercise as if my life depends on it. It does.
The other research I’ve seen says that singing loud can help people with Parkinson’s retain their voices longer. As a teacher and a mom, my voice is important. I’ve created a playlist titled “Big and Loud” songs. When I’m alone in the car, I belt out these songs (note: Loud does not equal good). So far, my playlist has Breathe, Before He Cheats, Hell No, Hallelujah, Rise, Heartbeat Song, Stronger, Praying, I Hope You Dance, Fight Song, Chasing Cars, Defying Gravity, For Good, Shut Up and Dance, Pray for Me, Precious Lord, Take my Hand, Goodbye my Friend, Untitled Hymn, I can Only Imagine, Let It Go. My list is growing. Singing in the car is cathartic. And it’s fun.
I am looking into exercises specifically for people with Parkinson’s like Delay the Disease and Big and Loud exercises. It’s hard to find classes that fit my work schedule. These classes are generally timed for older adults, retirees, in the middle of the day. Yet another challenge to being 46 with an older person’s disease. But just knowing that I might have a little bit of control over a disease that takes away much control, motivates me to press on. Makes waking at 5:45 am completely worth it.