Parkinson's Disease, and other movement disorders, affect moving and reacting to our particular environment and can affect our day-to-day tasks. Oftentimes, movements are smaller with altered speed; yet these movements can feel normal to the individual. Bringing self-awareness to the size and speed of a movement is generally the first step to treatment. Movements include whole body (such as what is necessary for walking) or individual movements such as reaching with one arm. After self-awareness of the movement is achieved, external cues are provided to nudge these movements towards the desired size and tempo. With repetition, this change will become habitual and a new normal for the individual. This process can be continued until the desired performance, and goals, are achieved.
Our body's ability to be moved in all degrees of freedom is vital to our function. If a body region like the trunk, or our individual joints in the arms and legs, are able to be taken through their range of motion while relaxed, then there is the potential for movement during an active task. If there are limitations to the body and joints while relaxed, these limitations will remain during an active task, thus limiting the desired response. Achieving flexibility and joint mobility is an important component of treatment.
Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and increases oxygen intake to the brain and body. An aerobic exercise program based on resting heart rate, your age, and heart rate variability can improve many symptoms over time, such as muscle rigidity, freezing while walking or turning, and orthostatic hypotension.