Parkinson’s Fitness

People with Parkinson’s

instructo-senior800Parkinson’s disease is condition that affects the health of the brain and the function of the nervous system. An exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is still being sought. But we do know that some of the brain cells that produce a substance called “dopamine” are affected and the amount of dopamine slowly decreases. This leads to the nervous system being unable to smoothly direct muscle contractions. The result is movements that are too slow compared to the movement that was intended.


Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can include:

Tremors – Shaking that often begins in the hands. Many times the thumb and index finger will rub in a manner that is called the “pill rolling” motion. And the hand or hands will often shake when relaxed (when not intentionally using the hands).

Slow movements or Bradykinesia – Slower movements make tasks more difficult and time consuming. People with Parkinson’s disease have to concentrate and focus more even on simple tasks. Movements become increasingly more difficult with time. This can be frustrating.

Muscle Stiffness/Rigidity – Muscles anywhere in the body can become stiffened. This makes movement more difficult and it can cause pain.

Posture and balance can be affected – Making the back bend forward and the person feel unstable on their feet.

Loss of automatic movements – Movements like swinging the arms when walking, spontaneously smiling, blinking, and other automatic or unconscious movements decrease.

Writing changes – Writing may become difficult and the size of handwriting smaller.

Speech is affected – Speech can become slurred, quieter, hesitant or quick.


Seniors-Staying-Fit-71659252-800There are a number of complications with Parkinson’s disease. It can affect sleep, mood, thought processes, swallowing, blood pressure, sense of smell, and other things in life that most people take for granted. About one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease. That is one person out of every 300 people. Another 60,000 are diagnosed each year. There are medications that can reduce symptoms and research is ongoing to find more ways to help this population. Exercise has been shown to improve symptoms and complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Hawaii Fitness Academy LLC is currently providing exercise classes for People living with Parkinson’s disease. The focus of this class is based on the needs of and current research findings for the Parkinson’s population. But many people living with other neurological disorders may also find the class to provide them with benefits as well. The class helps participants maintain some of the abilities that might otherwise diminish more quickly without intervention. This includes balance, stability, strength and endurance. Many of the participants report and demonstrate recovery of lost motor skills, motor control, and range of motion. Class members also can support each other and share their experiences coping and thriving in their daily lives.

This class meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:00 am at Therapydia Kona in the Keauhou Shopping Center.