Parkinsons Disease and Weightlifting
The result of the lack of dopamine, is movement that is interrupted, showing in tremors, shaking and difficulty in walking. For many who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, weightlifting has been suggested as a good form of therapy.
There is, however, not a whole lot of evidence indicating that working out with weights will have any more benefit than any other form of exercise, and in some cases may be counter-productive.
All research does support the idea that exercise will be beneficial to anyone suffering from this disease, especially exercise that works to reduce stiffness, improve mobility, posture, balance and gait. As depression is also a concern with this condition, exercise can help to keep Parkinson’s sufferers from being affected by this as well.
Even though weightlifting may not always be the best choice of exercise, it does provide some benefit as any exercise will be good for maintaining muscle mass. It is important for Parkinsons sufferers to be able to keep their muscles strong enough to perform daily chores and to help them maintain balance. It can also help to keep their posture upright.
Weightlifting is an exercise that should always be discussed with a physician first before starting any program, and this is especially true for anyone who has Parkinson’s Disease. It does seem to provide value for those who are suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of the disease, by building the strength of the muscles, although it needs to be noted that in some cases, it can actually increase muscle stiffness.
However, there are many other exercises that can be used with just as much value as weightlifting, including walking, dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, aerobics, and most sports. Similarly, performing simple exercises such as pushing themselves up onto their toes, or doing some kind of squatting exercises can be just, if not more, effective.
Doing any kind of exercise that will actually work on improving full range of motion will provide the most benefit for Parkinsons sufferers.
Remember, the muscle weakness that is seen with Parkinson’s is not actually caused by the disease process. It is a result of the decrease in activity of the muscles due to the stiffness and other symptoms associated with the disease.
The bottom line is, if you have Parkinsons Disease, weightlifting will work great for you, provided you enjoy doing the workouts and will continue to perform the exercises on a regular basis. If it isn’t something you will enjoy, or stick with, you do not need to force yourself to continue doing the workouts. Find another exercise that you do enjoy, and that you will be able to keep going with, and you will see just as much benefit in your muscle condition.
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