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What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

What is Parkinson’s Disease?
What is Parkinson’s Disease and who is at risk?

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition that affects the brain’s ability to produce dopamine, a chemical that plays a crucial role in smooth and coordinated movement. While primarily affecting the motor system, Parkinson’s can also affect non-motor parts of the brain, leading to a range of symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s?

Symptoms can be divided into motor and non-motor symptoms. 

Motor symptoms include: 

  • Tremors
  • Reduction in speed of movement (bradykinesia) 
  • Reduced balance 

Non-motor symptoms include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Decline in cognitive ability including memory and speed of mental processing 
  • Changes to mental health
Who is at risk?

The risk of Parkinson’s disease increases with age, with people from 70 to 79 years of age being most at risk. The disease affects more than 1% of people of the age of 50 years.

Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of Parkinson’s, and physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor.

How to manage Parkinson’s Disease
  • Regular exercise
  • Resistance training
  • Individualized exercise prescription

Resistance training has multiple desirable benefits for people managing Parkinson’s, including:

  • increased neural recruitment and firing rate (leading to improved nerve pathways)
  • increase in muscle size
  • increase in muscle strength

All of these benefits decrease muscle atrophy and reduce motor function loss which can limit people’s ability to undertake daily tasks and overall independence.

Cardiorespiratory training has also been found to be beneficial for managing Parkinson’s.

Regular cardio training has been found to:

  • increase overall fitness
  • improve cardiac function
  • alleviate symptoms such as orthostatic hypotension (drop in blood pressure from the change of posture)
  • reduce fatigue levels

Resistance and cardiorespiratory training help maintain independence for people with Parkinson’s by supporting their ability to perform daily tasks such as standing, walking, climbing stairs or even getting in and out of the car.

Exercise also has a profound effect on non-motor-related symptoms.

Dual Tasking – simultaneous motor task challenges

A great way to further support positive adaptation in individuals with Parkinson’s is through dual tasking.

Dual tasking is the term used to describe an activity or exercise where you are challenged by performing cognitive and/or motor tasks simultaneously. An example of dual tasking would be tandem walking whilst naming capital cities in Europe or balancing on one leg whilst throwing and catching a ball. Dual-task training has been shown to improve gait, balance, and other motor function symptoms for people with Parkinson’s. As dual tasking can be challenging, please discuss whether dual tasking is suitable for your exercise program with your accredited exercise physiologist before attempting it.

Exercise has been shown to improve sleep, anxiety, depression and overall quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.

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It should be noted that although exercise can have positive physiological effects on both motor and non-motor symptoms, Parkinson’s presents differently in each individual. For this reason, it is recommended that people with Parkinson’s should seek individualised exercise prescription from an exercise expert.

An exercise expert such as an exercise physiologist will assess your current physical capacity, disease stage, injuries and symptoms and develop a plan for the safest way to support you to achieve your movement goals using appropriate exercise prescription.


REFERENCES

Gamborg, M., Hvid, L. G., Dalgas, U., & Langeskov-Christensen, M. (2022). Parkinson’s disease and intensive exercise therapy – An uParkinson’sated systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Neurol Scand, 145(5), 504-528. doi:10.1111/ane.13579

Kalyani, H., Sullivan, K., Moyle, G., Brauer, S., Jeffrey, E. R., Roeder, L., . . . Kerr, G. (2019). Effects of dance on gait, cognition, and dual-tasking in Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Parkinson’s disease, 9(2), 335-349. 

Tsukita, K., Sakamaki-Tsukita, H., & Takahashi, R. (2022). Long-term Effect of Regular Physical Activity and Exercise Habits in Patients With Early Parkinson Disease. Neurology, 98(8), e859-e871. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000013218

Urell, C., Zetterberg, L., Hellström, K., & Anens, E. (2021). Factors explaining physical activity level in Parkinson´s disease: A gender focus. Physiother Theory Pract, 37(4), 507-516. doi:10.1080/09593985.2019.1630875

Wu, P. L., Lee, M., Wu, S. L., Ho, H. H., Chang, M. H., Lin, H. S., & Huang, T. T. (2021). Effects of home-based exercise on motor, non-motor symptoms and health-related quality of life in Parkinson’s disease patients: A randomized controlled trial. Jpn J Nurs Sci, e12418. doi:10.1111/jjns.12418

Meet the team

Be Physiology

At Be Physiology we focus on exercise and movement for the management and improvement of neurological and chronic conditions.

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Trent Brock | Mobile Exercise Physiologist

Trent Brock

mobile exercise physiologist
I have had 3 major passions throughout my life; exercise, competitive sports, and a strong will to help others. Those 3 factors made it an easy decision to pursue a career as an exercise physiologist. By encouraging and facilitating evidence-based exercise rehabilitation, I can help individuals living with various chronic conditions, particularly those living with neurological conditions.
I see exercise physiology as an extremely beneficial practice that enables clients to experience an improved quality of life. Personally, being able to provide insight into exercise and other tools that can equip clients with helpful skills and wellbeing improvements is extremely fulfilling. Being able to improve not only an individual, but their support network’s day-to-day life fills me with great joy and motivates me to continue to be better so that I can do better. I understand that everyone has a different view of exercise and there is no one-size fits all approach, so I operate with an open and adaptive mind, supported by evidence-based practices. If you or anyone that you know is looking to improve their quality of life and begin a journey to improved living, or just have any general questions, get in touch and let's have a chat!
Michelle Marais AEP

Michelle Marais

mobile exercise physiologist
My passion for movement, health, and helping others led me to become an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Through this role, I facilitate exercise-based rehabilitation for individuals with various chronic conditions, with a primary interest and area of expertise in neurological conditions.
To me, exercise physiology is about equipping clients with valuable skills that make daily tasks easier and empowering them to achieve their goals while enjoying the process.I take great pride in being a part of my clients' rehabilitation journey and exploring new methods with them to find the optimal exercise approach that works best for them.If you have any questions or are interested in starting your journey to a happier, healthier lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to me.
Angus Sullivan AEP

Angus Sullivan AEP

Mobile Exercise Physiologist
As an accredited exercise physiologist, I see my role as an opportunity to facilitate a safe and effective environment for my clients to explore their physical capabilities, identify areas where they would like to improve, and then prescribe meaningful and appropriate activities to achieve these improvements.
I currently work predominantly with individuals living with disability and have a keen interest in acquired brain injuries (ABI), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord injuries (SCI) and rare neurological conditions.
To me, exercise physiology is not only about achieving narrow objective goals (eg. 1 Rep Max bench press), but improving an individual’s lifestyle and making activities of daily living easier (mobilising, transferring, feeding, and more).
I love what I do and enjoy learning new methods and discussing different opinions about exercise. I am always happy to chat about it so please get in contact if you have any questions or knowledge that you wish to share!
Our team of mobile exercise physiologists

Walter White

manager of good vibes
Being active has taken on a whole new meaning and I am 100% here for it. I like to fink I'm pretty active, and I keep up de vibes during team meetings - just making sure everyone's hands are always moving (across my butt) because I know dat any exercise is good exercise.
I keep close to everyone, real close, just to keep dem on their toes when dey walk by too.
Fings are always better when I am der so if you need some good vibes, I will be der for you.
Brb just going to have a snooze.
Love and licks,
Wally
Brittney Kenward

Brittney Kenward

co-founder / Operations manager
I’m NOT an exercise physiologist, but I do take my hat off to my team and get to admire the work they do each and every day. Be Physiology means that we’re able to apply our passion, and our experience, to make exercise physiology more accessible to the people who need it the most.
You might hear the team describe me as ‘the person who does everything else’, and that can be translated to ‘marketing and operations'. My background is marketing and business, which I’ve lived and breathed since 2011. I’ve worked in both the agency and corporate spaces, across many industries, with many amazing people and now with Be Physiology, I get to explore the health industry further and continue to meet the most incredible people who are the ones to define motivation.
If you’ve met Harry and Aj, you’d know that they don’t really need marketing - they’re genuine, have ridiculous amounts of charisma, knowledgeable, and extremely passionate about helping people to be a better version of themselves. But, sometimes getting an introduction is the hardest part and that’s where I come in.
If you want to chat, a coffee, a laugh, I’m always here to make one or all of them happen.

So call me and let’s keep sharing the love!
Keegan Betts AEP

Keegan Betts AEP

mobile exercise physiologist
As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, my work is driven by my passion for movement, health, and empowering others. With my experience working with individuals of all ages who have neurological conditions such as autism, stroke, and cerebral palsy, I focus on delivering activity-based therapy to optimise their independence.
Seeing people empowered and handling daily tasks easier is incredibly rewarding, as well as being able to give others the tools to improve their mental health and prevent secondary health conditions.
I know the importance of creating a welcoming and safe environment particularly when improving our health and I always strive to ensure everybody feels supported by the team around them and receives the highest level of care.
Get in touch today and let's make it happen.
Kristen McCluskey

Kristen McCluskey

Mobile Exercise Physiologist
If you spend as little as 10 minutes a day exercising, it will still make a huge difference to your overall physical and mental health - this is a fact and it is very often underappreciated! The benefits of exercise don’t discriminate and the rumours are true, exercise is medicine.
Spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions and women’s health are areas I find to be very dynamic and that I am particularly passionate about, but all aspects of exercise physiology are unique and have a significant impact on people’s everyday lives and I want to continue bringing it to those who will benefit the most from it.
I'm passionate about learning new methods and learning what my clients enjoy and how they approach exercise. I am always happy to chat about the many benefits and outcomes of exercise physiology so please get in contact if you have any questions or knowledge that you wish to share.
If you’re interested in learning more about who I am or want to ask any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch at .
Charlotte Gill

Charlotte Gill

marketing assistant
My name is Charlotte, and I'm a sports enthusiast currently studying for a marketing degree. Although I am not an exercise physiologist, I have a passion for sports having a background in ski instructing and adaptive skiing. Like the team, I believe exercise is medicine and share a similar passion and values to help and motivate others I meet.
I've been fortunate enough to work globally with a background in event management, ski instructing, administrating, and climbing supervisor. However, working alongside the Be Physiology team as my dream role in marketing is a highlight. If you have had the pleasure of meeting the team, you will know their genuine, funny, knowledgeable, and passionate to help others. These are values that I also pride myself in, and I am so fortunate to be surrounded by like-minded colleagues.
Harry White AEP

Harry White AEP

co-founder / supervisor
Exercise physiology combines two of my favourite things: health and helping people. As an accredited exercise physiologist with more than seven years’ clinical experience, I have treated people presenting with a wide variety of health conditions and concerns, postural issues, chronic injuries and rehabilitation needs.
My expertise is spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders and helping my clients to achieve an improved quality of life through rehabilitation and functional training. Rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders can be slow but incredibly rewarding for clients when results are achieved, no matter how small. Assisting people through learning useful skills and functional training is the most important role that an EP can play to help people lead a more fulfilled life.
Working for many years with people who have suffered serious injury or live with a disability, I know that taking a proactive approach to your health changes your life. If you care for your body, it will take care of you.
I’m passionate about helping people live a long, healthy and active life, so call today.