With a New Year upon us, many people are creating their resolutions. Maybe it’s to get your financial affairs in order, eat healthier, control stress more efficiently or maybe even stop eating obscene amounts of frozen yogurt… come on people, I know I am not alone here. Fro Yo is a little gift from heaven above and it can’t be all that bad for you. In fact, I believe that it can be categorized as a fruit, seeing as I put a ton of delicious berries and nuts on it, so technically it has essential nutrients for the human body. Please do not destroy my dreams and drown me with the pain of reality…. I am digressing.
One of the most widespread resolutions that people make is to lose weight, which usually means to exercise… unless you are hoping for a hefty case of the flu, which limits the amount of food you can stuff in your face without leaving the couch. But if you have Parkinson’s, you are constantly reminded how important exercise is to control the progression or severity of the disease. I will continue to remind Parkies that exercising is just as important as the pills you take everyday. It can help to loosen the grip that Parkinson’s has on you. Now I know what you are thinking, because ANY and EVERY excuse you have formulated in that beautiful brain of yours, I have already struggled myself to curb. Some of these excuses are:
1. “I am too busy with _______________________. “
-Fill in the blank with children, work, school, dog sitting, washing your hair or life in general. We will always be able to find things that can fill our time, but what happens when we lose quality time because we didn’t put ourselves first? Schedule exercise in your weekly plans to ensure you make it a priority.
2. “I don’t feel like going today, I will double up my workout tomorrow.”
-Good one Einstein… E=MC2 does not mean “Eat More Chocolate” and procrastinate. Apathy is one symptom that can cause a loss of interest in many things. If this is an issue, find a friend to go with you or keep an exercise journal to hold you accountable.
3. “Where do I start? The gym intimidates me.”
-To start, you just have to move! Go for a walk, dance in your living room while you clean, or my favorite… go to the mall and window shop. There are many resources online, in books, magazines and even at your local community center. Don’t forget your local gym, which may have fitness instructors who may have experience working with people with Parkinson’s who can safely help you achieve your goals for 2014…. You just have to look!
4. “I don’t have any energy.”
-Ummmm, yeah, that is a huge reason you should get up and get moving! You will sleep better, feel better and maybe even be nicer to small animals or infants.
5. “I can’t stay motivated!”
-You have a degenerative neurological disease that will rob you of movement, challenge your relationships, and will financially drain you, but one thing that can help is exercising regularly…feeling motivated now?
6. “My Parkinson’s is actually worse after I exercise.”
-This can be an issue for many Parkies, seeing as our muscles and joints can be impacted. With rigidity and stiffness comes loss of movement, which snowballs into muscle atrophy and eventually decreased range of motion. When you start a fitness program, your body will be challenged to move in a ways that can feel funky and might even make you sore. So why get off the couch? As you strengthen those fluffy bits, you can improve balance and become stronger which will help prevent falls or other injuries.
7. “I get overwhelmed with my workout routine…. It is hard!”
-If it were easy, it wouldn’t be called a WORK-out. It is supposed to be strenuous. But if you can’t physically get through it, find modifications that accommodate your physical ability without jeopardizing your safety, such as using a chair to assist you with balancing activities.
8. “What is the best type of exercise for Parkinson’s disease?”
-There is no one type of physical activity that is better than another. Find one that you like so there is more of a chance that you will stick with it! Yoga is amazing for strength and flexibility, but if you loathe it, you will quit doing it.
So there you have it! If I have not addressed your excuse for not exercising, please let me know and I will come to your house and pour a bucket of ice water on you…. Harsh, I know…but at least I will get you moving! Wishing you a healthy and happy 2014!