5 Exercises that Help Seniors with Parkinson’s Boost Coordination

By , 9:00 am on

Parkinson’s disease is often referred to as a “movement disorder” because it can affect an older adult’s ability to get around safely and effectively. One way to minimize issues with movement related to this progressive nervous system condition is to keep muscles that help with coordination as healthy and strong as possible. Below you’ll find five of the top coordination-related exercises that can be helpful for seniors with Parkinson’s.

1. Walking

Walking is a simple and effective coordination exercise that can be done at a pace that’s comfortable for seniors with Parkinson’s. It’s beneficial because the arm swings that go along with walking keep the parts of the body related to movement and coordination in sync. Walking also helps with coordination by:

• Making muscles in legs and thighs stronger
• Increasing circulation in feet and legs
• Strengthening trunk, core, and lumbar (lower) spine muscles that maintain stability

2. Strength Training

Strength training helps older adults with Parkinson’s maintain the muscle mass needed for coordination and balance. The Parkinson’s Foundation notes that exercises of this nature can involve weights, machines at the gym, a senior’s own body weight, and even household items such as milk containers filled with sand. What’s also great about strength training is that the core muscle groups that play a role in coordination, flexibility, and range of motion can be evenly targeted.

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. At-home 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.

3. Aquatic Exercises

If your loved one is already showing signs of having difficulty with balance and coordination, he or she may benefit from water-based exercises because water’s natural buoyancy eases stress on bones and joints while still providing sufficient resistance. When done in a heated pool, aquatic exercises can also increase circulation while stimulating weaker muscles.

Water-based exercises such as swimming, water walking, and water aerobics can also help seniors with Parkinson’s enhance muscle tone, balance, and posture. Plus, there are plenty of “water aids,” such as flotation devices, that provide added stability while doing water-based exercises.

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Fairfield 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. Balance Exercises

Seniors with Parkinson’s often experience difficulty with balance, which can affect coordination and stability. Single-leg stances, seated reaching exercises, and back leg raises are just some of the many balance-related exercises seniors with Parkinson’s can do to increase their coordination by targeting the muscles and joints that keep them stable. The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) recommends individuals with Parkinson’s perform balance-related activities or exercises at least 2–3 days a week. Encourage your loved one to aim for about 20–30 minutes for each session of these types of exercises.

5. Yoga or Tai Chi

Disciplines such as yoga and tai chi help seniors with Parkinson’s increase their coordination by gently targeting the muscle groups involved with everyday movements. And because the movements associated with both yoga and tai chi are slow and controlled, stimulation is provided in a way that’s safe and not overly strenuous or stressful. A good way for seniors with Parkinson’s to get started with yoga or tai chi is to take a class to learn how to safely perform the various poses and movements.

Seniors with Parkinson’s who need help exercising safely can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. Fairfield home care service experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home Parkinson’s care services, contact us at 203-955-1915 today.