Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh and University of Southern California discovered that exercise can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease (known as “PD”).
The studies suggest that regular physical activity can help to reduce damage to neurons in the brain that causes Parkinson’s disease.
“Parkinson’s disease is an illness that affects muscle movement,” says Kay Mixson Jenkins, author of the new children’s book Who Is Pee Dee? “Anything that can help to maintain normal muscle tone and flexibility is extremely important.”
Ms. Jenkins was diagnosed with PD when she was just thirty-four. She decided to write her book to help her children understand the disease. The story follows a young boy named Colt as he tries to deal with his mother’s chronic illness.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly 1.5 million Americans; approximately 50,000 are diagnosed with the disease every year.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise has important benefits for everyone regardless of age or physical condition… When your condition threatens to immobilize you, exercise keeps you moving… To retain your mobility and function, use it or lose it.”
Exercises cannot stop Parkinson’s disease progression, but based on the study, regular physical activity can help PD patients to:
• minimize further cell damage.
• decrease loss of cognitive skills.
• increase muscle control and build muscle strength.
• improve balance and coordination.
• reduce depression.
“Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for Parkinson’s disease,” says Ms. Jenkins. “I believe that exercise can help to delay the progression of Parkinson’s and improve emotional well-being, which is very important for PD patients.”
Kay Mixson Jenkins is the Georgia state co-coordinator for the Parkinson’s Action Network, leads the Effingham County Parkinson’s support group and was selected as a Parkinson’s patient advocate for UCB, Inc.
Who Is Pee Dee? Explaining Parkinson’s Disease to a Child by Kay Mixson Jenkins is available on Amazon.com.
For more information, contact the author directly via kmj@ParkinsonsInThePark.org.