I learned long ago that I think better after I exercise so I do my best to get some form of vigorous activity before I write. I try to exercise every day, but many weeks I can only do six days. Three times a week I practice a workout routine with a half hour on the bike, plus weights, crunches and stretches. I mix it up with yoga, tennis and three-mile walks with friends. I feel like it gets the blood pumping to my brain.
Since I figured this routine out myself, I was deeply interested to learn that exercise is a key part of Lori’s attack on Parkinson’s. Her specialist, Dr. Michael Rezak, says that Lori’s exercising has definitely slowed the progress of the disease. Lori dedicates four hours a day to exercise. She stretches when she gets up. For endurance and strength, she walks on the treadmill and lifts weights. Ballroom dancing and tai chi improve balance. Lori plays the harp develops finger control so Lori can help prevent the trembling hands that are a symptom of her disease. As a former aerobics instructor, all this comes naturally to Lori. While P.D. has taken away many things she liked to do, like biking, skiing or roller blading, but she is so much better that she can play golf again.
We were pleased to read that Dr. Dennis Keane, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, thinks a dedicated exercise program will not only control the symptoms of Parkinson’s but may slow its progression or even prevent its manifestation. He says, “Our brains have neuroplasticity. That is, with activities such as exercise, we stimulate our brains to create new nerve pathways to take over the role of what we may have lost from a neurological disorder.”
I have Alzheimer’s in my family. I hope the same goes for Alzheimer’s.