Positive thinking about Parkinson’s diseaseThere is a practical side to Parkinson’s disease (PD). “See yourself as a survivor not a victim: The difference is more than semantic. It is a way of being.” – Trisha Mell, Author, I am the Central Park Jogger

In honor of Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, I wanted to share some thoughts and solutions to stave off the disease that ranks as the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.

My uncle had Parkinson’s disease (PD) and died accidentally from complications. As time passed, I came to recognize the manifestations such as tremors, stunted gait, Bradykinesia (slow movement), rigidity and soft voice. Prior to my uncle’s illness, these conditions were misunderstood by me and most likely by others who had no previous experience of people with the disease. Since his passing, I have devoted much of my time to working with people living with PD and helping educate those who would benefit most.

While doing my research, I coincidentally came across a similar project conducted in the UK, about how everyday life is affected by persons with PD. Their findings were a mirror image of the questions my clients responded to when interviewed. My client Bob uses a superb analogy from a “Star Trek” episode to illustrate how your attitude can feed on negative emotions if you allow them to. Click here to read Bob’s personal story about Parkinson’s disease.


Don’t allow the disease to define who you are. Let it become a part of who you are, nothing more. Let others in your life know that you are living with the disease and educate them if they ask about Parkinson’s. AND exercise, exercise, and then exercise some more.

In my research, all agreed that Parkinson’s disease can take a toll on relationships and family life. These may be affected by emotional changes, stress and anxiety; by how each reacts to the diagnosis or by communication problems caused by the disease. That’s why it is important not to be afraid to reach out for help. Talking to people: family, friends or a support group about the disease; finding mutual activities that can be enjoyed together as well as continuing to socialize can also help you cope with these changes.

Use the Parkinson’s disease guiding principles of exercise, which are very specific. Self-initiated and self-paced physical activities that are BIG, flowing, flexible, reciprocal, sequential and involve planning, quickness, upright posture, balance, sensory integration if practiced regularly can help.  Weight shifts such as rocking is a useful strategy to trigger any movement when you feel “stuck” and is also helpful for coordination.

Balance is a key issue for those with PD and for seniors in general. Check out my Exercise Snack Video that helps with balance issues.

“Take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually so that you can take care of the world.”

–  Susan Love, M.D.

For more tips and fun ways to be more active, reduce the pain associated with chronic disease including PD, arthritis, osteoporosis, injury, or to increase your balance, contact us. You can also refer to our FAQ page aka Questions and Answers, follow us on Facebook or check out our website at www.lorimichielfitness for other important fitness information, email us or simply call us at 818-620-1442 for a consultation.

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