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Article Type: Blog

Exercise Programs Available to Parkinson’s and Dementia Patients

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Nearly one million people will be living with Parkinson’s disease in the United States by the end of this year, with roughly 60,000 Americans being diagnosed each year. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that impacts movement and generally worsens with time. Patients with Parkinson’s often have shaking, stiffness, difficulty walking and slower movements. 

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect memory, thought process and social abilities to the point where daily activities can be quite a struggle. Several different diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, can cause dementia. 

Our experts at AdventHealth Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation have found short- and long-term benefits of regular exercise for those living with Parkinson’s and dementia, leading to the development of a new program launching this fall that is aimed to help improve movement, balance, routine development, stability and coordination through group exercise sessions. 

Types of Group Exercise Programs

At AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab, we’re offering two different options for Parkinson’s patients and one program for dementia patients.

Each program is tailored to support those with low to high functioning Parkinson’s, as well as dementia patients, and their caregivers are also welcomed to attend each session. Anyone living with Parkinson’s, dementia or a functional movement disorder qualifies to participate and is encouraged to join us to improve their physical fitness.

Parkinson's programs have both PWR! (Parkinson's Wellness Recovery) classes and standard group exercise classes available. While both are specifically designed for Parkinson's patients, PWR! classes offer a slower pace and use specific PWR! approved movements. Our standard group exercise class experience provides an option for those Parkinson's patients with greater mobility. 

Each group exercise class can be modified based on a patient's abilities and needs.

AdventHealth Sports Med & Rehab also offers a dedicated wellness program that is specially designed to help those with dementia and their caregivers, with a focus on increasing each person’s strength and confidence

Benefits of Group Exercise

For someone living with Parkinson’s disease, exercise is a key step in the treatment process. “Exercise has been proven to improve motor symptoms, reduce fall risk, and can increase quality of life. Exercise creates a neuroprotective effective in Parkinson’s patients, which means a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and symptoms,” says AdventHealth Medical Wellness Manager Cristina Clemente, MS, CSCS. 

And for our participants who have dementia, “exercise can increase strength, flexibility, stability and endurance,” Clemente says. “Regular exercise can promote a normal day-night routine and reduce stress and depression.”

Enrollment and More Information

For pricing and location information for our Parkinson’s and dementia programs, please click here. Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation support can be found at each of our Central Florida Sports Med and Rehab locations.

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