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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What type of exercise rehabilitation can help someone with Parkinson's disease?

    My father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and I have heard that certain types of exercise can help him cope with the condition. What is involved? Who should he see?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 7


    Dr Anabela Novas

    Exercise Physiologist

    Twenty years of clinical experience, health research and publications. My strength is motivating people to be physically active, independent and healthier. Live long, enjoy life! View Profile

    For Parkinson's I would include various types of exercise. But with these patients, we cannot prevent the development of the disease or halt the progression, but we can definitely, with exercise, contribute to a better lifestyle and improvement in quality of life. I would recommend an aerobic exercise as a way to maintain or improve aerobic capacity. I would recommend resistance type exercise as a way to increase your capacity and muscle strength, maintain muscle mass, which also is lost by inactivity in these patients.

    I would recommend flexibility, so stretching type exercises for different muscles and limbs, in a way to increase the range of motion and avoid spasticity that is quite common in these patients. And as well as that, I would recommend balancing exercises to keep, as much as possible, the ability to be independent. Other functional types of exercises are also useful to maintain their capacity to perform activities in their daily lives and this may also maintain their independence for more time.

  • 4


    Tim Cottman - Fields

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    Tim is considered a movement specialist - using exercise, education and hands on therapy as his main treatments, helping everyone achieve optimal function. His interests … View Profile

    I second what Dr Anabela has said and would like to add that each case of Parkinson’s presents differently. Aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance are most common types of exercise used in PD rehabilitation. Dependent on the severity of the characteristics (freezing, rigidity, gait problems, tremor etc.) of the particular case and also what the individuals own goals are; one or more of these forms of exercise could be more beneficial.

    The rehabilitation process is again centred on the individual’s needs. Usually quite intensive, regular physical, cognitive and/ or speech therapy is recommended with home based exercises offering additional benefits and independence.

    An Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist with clinical experience and/ or interest in neuro-degenerative disorders would be your best option regarding exercise therapy.

    I would ask your GP or neurologist who they recommend for rehab services

    This is a link to a factsheet and other resources.

    Remember the best exercise is the one that you’ll enjoy the most while gaining the benefit of being physically activity.

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