Monterey Parkinson’s Support Group ~ Fitness

Exercise plays a crucial role in the management of People with Parkinson’s (PWP). It can have numerous benefits for individuals with PWP, helping to improve their overall quality of life and reduce the impact of the disease on their daily functioning. Here are some key reasons why exercise is important for those with Parkinson’s:

Motor Symptom Management: Parkinson’s is characterized by motor symptoms such as tremors, bradykinesia (slowness of movement), rigidity, and balance issues. Regular exercise has been shown to help manage these symptoms by improving muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination. It can also enhance gait and balance, reducing the risk of falls.

Neuroprotective Effects: Research suggests that exercise may have neuroprotective effects, meaning it can help slow down the progression of Parkinson’s. Physical activity stimulates the production of neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promote the survival and growth of neurons. These factors can help protect dopamine-producing neurons that are affected in PWP.

Mood and Mental Health: Parkinson’s can have a significant impact on mental health, leading to symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Exercise has been shown to be an effective non-pharmacological intervention for improving mood and reducing psychological symptoms in PWP. It can increase the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain.

Cognitive Function: Cognitive decline and dementia can be associated with Parkinson’s. However, exercise has been found to have positive effects on cognitive function in PWP. Regular physical activity can enhance attention, memory, and executive functions, potentially slowing down cognitive decline.

Energy and Fatigue: Parkinson’s can cause fatigue and a lack of energy. Paradoxically, engaging in regular exercise can help improve energy levels and reduce fatigue. Exercise promotes cardiovascular fitness, strengthens muscles, and enhances overall endurance, leading to increased energy and reduced feelings of fatigue.

Social Engagement and Quality of Life: Participating in exercise programs can provide social interaction and support, which are crucial for individuals with Parkinson’s. Group-based exercise classes or activities can foster a sense of community, reduce social isolation, and improve overall quality of life.

It’s important to note that the type and intensity of exercise should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and abilities. Working with healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists or exercise physiologists experienced in Parkinson’s disease, can help develop personalized exercise programs that address individual goals and limitations.

Overall, exercise is a vital component of Parkinson’s disease management, offering numerous physical, mental, and social benefits. It is recommended that PWP engage in regular physical activity as part of their overall treatment plan.

Always check with your doctor before trying new physical activity.

power over parkinson's monterey bay

MONTEREY BAY POWER OVER PARKINSON’S offers classes for members, including Rock Steady Boxing.

Scroll down for NEW Dance for Parkinson’s FREE class at POP.

ms monterey

MS MONTEREY Offers free classes to MS and Parkinson’s Patients​ including the popular Pool Class.

dance for parkinson's monterey ca


Generously Funded by the Arts Council of Monterey County

Thanks to a generous grant from the Arts Council of Monterey County, Dance for Parkinson’s classes will now be offered in Monterey County, and at no charge. The classes will be held at the Power Over Parkinson’s studio in Monterey on Tuesdays beginning July 25 and are open to all people living with Parkinson’s and their friends and caregivers.

The weekly class is held from 11am to 12:15pm on Tuesdays at the Power Over Parkinson’s studio, located at 2555 Garden Road, Suite B in Monterey, Calif.  Classes are drop in, no pre-registration required.

Dance for PWP movement classes were pioneered by the acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Troupe and are taught internationally. The Dance for PWP classes offered in Monterey will be taught by two professional trained instructors, Molly Katzman and Maria who have been teaching Dance for PWP classes in Santa Cruz County for several years.

“We are thrilled to expand our repertoire of exercise and movement classes designed to enhance the health of people living with Parkinson’s,” said Power Over Parkinson’s Board President. “Exercise, movement and social connection are proven ways to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s.”

A Santa Cruz Dance for PD student shared, “I have come to love this class and look forward to each session. My spirits are lifted when I’m in the company of other dancers. My body enjoys this activity as well and rewards me after each session with a feeling of wellbeing, freeing my mind of concern and negative thoughts and gifting me with moments of peace. The Dance for PWP class has become a cherished part of my routine and an anticipated high point to my week.”

Clinical research documents the therapeutic effects of dance and a study published in The Journal of Neural Transmission (Westheimer, 2015) found that participants in 16 weeks of Dance for PWP showed significant improvement in their mobility. In addition to strengthening and balancing the body, dance and music are powerful modes of expression that sharpen attention, inspire, empower, and build connection and community.

Dance for PWP classes aim to alleviate the social isolation, apathy, and lack of connectivity that many people with Parkinson’s have expressed struggling with, and that were been amplified by the pandemic. Participants in Dance for PWP programs report that the social and emotive layers of dance class inspire them to move. While we strengthen muscles, we do the same with the brain – learning engaging movement phrases, using our imaginations, and moving together to live music to facilitate greater range of motion and expression.

Always check with your doctor before trying new physical activity.

About Power Over Parkinson’s Monterey County

Power Over Parkinson’s Monterey County (known as POP for short) is a local nonprofit founded in 2017 to provide Monterey County residents living with Parkinson’s access to exercise and wellness programs designed to slow the disease’s progression, as well as raising awareness.  POP offers a monthly membership providing access to weekly PWP-specific classes in boxing, yoga, tai chi, mat pilates, stretch and more in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. Scholarships are available to those in need, and the Dance for Persons With Parkinson’s classes are free to all thanks to generous funding from the Arts Council of Monterey County.

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