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World Parkinson's Day

  • The red tulip with a white fringe officially became the symbol of Parkinson's disease in 2005 (1)

  • April 11th, 1755 Dr. James Parkison was born. The son of a surgeon and apothecary, he is known for his work "An essay on the shaking palsy" in 1817.(2)

  • Almost 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease every year (3)

  • 10 million+ people worldwide live with Parkinson's disease (3)

  • Parkinson's disease is the 2nd (only to Alzheimer's) as most common neurodegenerative disease (4)

About Parkinson's disease:

" Is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra" (5)

Common symptoms: tremors, mask-like face (bradykinesia), limb rigidity & gait or balance problems

The cause is unknown, there is no cure, and treatment varies

Training with Parkinson's:

  • Early intervention is critical s this is a chronic and progressive disorder

  • The goals of an exercise program should to reduce (a) rate that signs appear from progression , (b) presence of other medical conditions (comorbidities), as well as secondary complications from muscle disused; while improving the individuals ability to function and quality of life.

  • Exercises should aimed at improving ADL's (activities of daily living) & independence.


  • The individual's progressions and symptoms in relations to motor skill & cognitive abilities

  • Side effects from medications

  • Fall history

  • Enjoyment an preferences- when possible activities should be chosen that are enjoyable


  • Emphasis on balance training, posture and mobility (range of motion and fluidity) with

  • Particular focus on neck flexibility, spinal mobility & movements promoting rotation

  • Utilizing stationary equipment to reduce the risk of falls

  • Strengthening the hips and trunk extensors for posture as well as consistent training of the lower body for maintenance of mobility


  • Tai Chi

  • Dance programs (specifically Tango & Waltz are recommended by ACSM)

  • Programs that incorporate balance pads or discs, boss BOSU balls, stability balls , & the unstable devices (depending on the individuals ability and history)

Resources & Raising Awareness:


Lansing: 2022 Walk (September 17, 2022)

Grand Rapids: 2022 Walk (October 8, 2022)

Michael J Fox Foundation (find an event near you)


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