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Wednesdays 9:15 am at Fitness Corner
Starts May 4 – 8 weeks • Members: $35 • Non Members: $70 (+ HST)
This 1 hour fitness class gets mom moving outside. There is light jogging/walk-running, lots of muscle strengthening and core strengthening. Must be at least 6 weeks post par-tum. Moms need to bring their own strollers, water bottle, old towel/blanket, and appropriate outdoor clothing. Taught by Tiffany Krause
Avoid disappointment! Pre-registration required!
Currently there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. It is a chronic neurological condition that affects 100,000 Canadians, mostly in, but not limited to, those over age 60. There is reason to believe however that the symptoms of this disease can be slowed or changed through regular physical activity. It is known that on a day to day basis, people with PD who exercise regularly are able to move more normally than those who don’t.
It is known that in PD the brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between cells in the brain and helps control body movement are damaged and lost. There is a lag time between when the loss of these cells begins and when the motor symptoms of the disease start to show. During this lag time the brain is actually changing to compensate for the loss of dopamine neurons.This ability of the brain to change is known as neuroplasticity and scientists believe that exercise may contribute to neuroplasticity, helping the brain to maintain old connections, form new ones and restore lost ones.
One study divided 67 people with PD into 3 groups. One group exercised briskly on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 70-80 % of their maximum heart rates. The 2nd group also walked on a treadmill but at 40-50 % of max HR for 50 minutes. The 3rd group did leg strength training with weights as well as stretching exercises. All groups worked out 3 times a week for 3 months. At the end of the study, all groups had improved but in different ways. Not surprising, the walking groups improved their cardiovascular fitness and the weight training group improved leg strength. What was surprising was that the group who exercised at the higher intensity on the treadmill did not improve in their walking speed as much as the other two groups. In all groups walking gait was improved, meaning less shuffling or freezing. The conclusion made was that both moderate cardiovascular and strength training on a regular basis are important for those with PD, just as they are for the general population.
Other activities that have been shown to help those with PD improve their mobility are dancing, Nordic walking, boxing and yoga or Tai Chi. I think the message is that whatever the activity, if it is done on a regular basis as soon as possible after being diagnosed it will be of a benefit. Studies have also shown the sooner a PD patient gets involved in a “fall prevention” program the better. Risk of falling can be lessened a great deal through balance training exercises. Balance improves as does confidence which translates to a lessened fear of falling and fewer falls. Being told you have PD does not mean you should sit down and take it but rather get up and fight back.
One person, not that much older than me, said she wasn’t walking any more because she wanted to save her knees. I feel she is much too young to sit down and do nothing active, no health benefits to that. I have other folks, in their 80’s and 90’s who tell me they go to the gym regularly because it does more for them than any anti-depressant pill ever could. Many people I know would not be doing what they are capable of in the gym or at home if they didn’t exercise on a regular basis. Think arthritis for example. Everyone will develop arthritis eventually. Some feel the symptoms sooner than others, Some not at all. Injury and surgery in a joint will bring arthritis on earlier. Some high impact activities may do as well. If your usual high impact activity is causing you joint pain then switch to something less jarring. Cycling is the new running don’t you know? The joints need synovial fluid moving through them to keep cartilage healthy and the joints running smoothly. Moving the body gets this fluid flowing. Choose an activity like cycling, swimming or yoga that allows movement without impact.
Activity also strengthens the muscles around the joints. The stronger the muscle the less stress on the joints. This is especially true for the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles in connection to the knees but also having strong core muscles will protect the spine. Engaging those core muscles while twisting or lifting will help prevent back pain. Keeping the upper body strong benefits the shoulders as well as the back. Strength training with weights or even just your own body weight can greatly enhance your joints. If you are unsure of what exercises and activities you should do to benefit your joints seek the advice of a physiotherapist, chiropractor or personal trainer to get you on the right track. Not only does exercise strengthen muscle, it helps you maintain a healthy weight. Less weight on the joints, especially knees, reduces a lot of stress on them and the resulting pain. Keeping flexibility around the joint as much as possible is also beneficial. A regular stretching program is a must.
Please don’t sit down and forgo exercise. Your body and your brain will go to mush. There are so many health benefits to be gained by exercising by anyone of any age that it must be part of your daily routine. The way to save your joints is to use them. Strengthen the muscles surrounding them. Keep them flexible. Exercise smartly. Keep fit and enjoy life!
- Congratulations to Andre Arvanitis who came up with the name! (“Exo” means “outside” in Greek)
- Thanks to all who gave great suggestions – it was very hard to pick just one.
- The Exogym is available for use by gym members – small group training will resume again in the spring.
You can do a great circuit routine to benefit your fitness level outdoors at the park. Begin by walking, biking or running to the park as a warm-up. Do some triceps dips on a park bench. (10 to 20 is a good number). Try “step-ups” on the bench next. Step one foot up on the bench, bring the other one up to meet it then step down. Try 10 – 20 reps with one leg leading then switch to the other leg. Do some “mountain climbers” next. These are done from a “high plank” position with hands on the bench, elbows straight and the body in a diagonal line from head to toe. Alternate bringing one bent knee in towards the body, keeping the hips down and the abs engaged. Again 10 to 20 reps on each leg is good. Repeat the circuit then go for a short run. More
Last year the Heart and Stroke Foundation used “Make Death Wait” as their campaign slogan. A powerful statement that made us pay attention. This year they used “Make Health Last” as their slogan and ran a powerful television ad that also made us take note. It’s the ad where one side of the screen shows an older adult tying up running shoes and heading out for a bike ride. The other side of the screen shows the same older gentleman putting on slippers and being pushed in a wheel chair down the hallway of a nursing home. The message is, will you live your later years enjoying being active with family members or will you lead a lower quality lifestyle due to ill health. The ad states that the average Canadian will spend the last ten years of their life in sickness. The narrator encourages you to view makehealthlast.ca to change your future. I checked, they have plenty of good information there. This heart and stroke web-site shows us 5 ways to make health last. You will also see the cost in years off your life by not following these 5 rules to better health. Inactivity will cost 4 quality years. Poor dietary habits, 3 quality years. Excessive, unmanaged stress, 2 quality years. Smoking 2.5 quality years and excessive drinking 2 quality years. Individually doesn’t seem to bad. Add them up, total cost is 13.5 years.