Among our family of strong Bradenton women, we welcome plenty of people with Parkinson’s into our gym. After they’ve been diagnosed with a disease that can have prominent and sometimes debilitating physical symptoms, these inspiring fitness mavens continue to charge after their own strength and empowerment.
And we’re happy to say that weight training is one of the most productive ways you can fight Parkinson’s.
Why Talk About Weight Training for Parkinson’s in Particular?
Medical science has long suggested a direct link between weightlifting and improved motor function (not to mention mental and cardiovascular health) for Parkinson’s patients. Someone suffering from a disease that can be so physically debilitating obviously benefits from literal strength and empowerment.
Physical strength, muscle control and reduced fall risk also allows Parkinson’s patients to be more independent, and to have more confidence in social situations, which we know are vital to physical and mental health.
And while medical experts recommend these benefits of weightlifting (aka weight training, strength training, or resistance training) for all kinds of conditions—from depression to arthritis to cardiovascular disease—the benefits for Parkinson’s disease specifically go even farther.
That’s right: Weight training for Parkinson’s works. It works on the parts of the brain that cause Parkinson’s in the first place.
The Parkinson’s Foundation now says that strength training isn’t just physically and mentally beneficial for Parkinson’s patients (as it is for all of us); they now say it actually directly affects the root cause of Parkinson’s.
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition that manifests primarily in movement disorders: tremors (often in the hands), stiff or rigid limbs, and gait difficulties.
These symptoms are caused by dysfunction in the brain’s dopamine-producing neurons. However, the root cause of this dysfunction is still unknown.
How Does Resistance Training Affect Parkinson’s?
Because Parkinson’s affects motor function, and strength training improves motor function, the correlation between Parkinson’s and strength training seems pretty direct. Weightlifting improves strength, balance, and muscle control through a full range of motion—the most common issues caused by Parkinson’s disease.
But as we mentioned above, strength training doesn’t just improve these Parkinson’s symptoms; it’s also addressing the neurological condition that generates them. This kind of training reduces neuroinflammation, improves dopamine production and reception, and can even slow the progress of this degenerative disease.
This scientific fact has been well known for more than 10 years now. A 2012 study by the American Academy of Neurology saw a 7.3-point improvement on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) in patients who performed resistance training for one hour, twice a week, for two years.
In other words: Start strength training now, stick with it, and you will see results.
Professional Personal Training for Women’s Weightlifting and Parkinson’s
Of course, these benefits of resistance training are contingent upon the quality of the exercise. Professional personal trainers who can see, supervise, guide and correct your movements and progress in person ensure that all weightlifting exercises are being performed safely and with an eye toward your personal conditions, background and goals.
As a leading gym for women in Bradenton, Florida, Lana’s takes great pride in providing this life-changing training and community for our clients. We are proud to help lead the fight locally against Parkinson’s.