Exercising With A Gravity Ball™ For Parkinson's Disease

With Alan Alda's recent announcement about his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease and the increased awareness it's brought to the disease, we'd like to share some Gravity Ball exercises that can help ease the symptoms for those with Parkinson's.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that can cause tremors in the hands, limb rigidity, motor issues and cognitive challenges due to the decline of dopamine in the brain.

Age is a high risk factor and due to aging population, Parkinson’s is the fast growing neurological disease with cases expected to double by 2040 (1).

”Exercise is critical for the management of Parkinson’s," says Dr. Rachel Dolhun, Vice President for medical communications at the Michael J Fox Foundation. "It’s almost as important as the medications you may take or the surgery you may have.” 

Exercises for those with Parkinson's disease should focus on functional movements that help to develop mobility, balance, flexibility and improve posture. 

Moderation is the best word for strength training without other forms of exercise, according to The Parkinson's Disease Clinic and Research Center (2). The center suggests that those with Parkinson's disease also do walking, yoga, Tai Chi and other forms of aerobic exercise to compliment strength training.

Exercises that use low weight to perform swings, rotations, open movements and full range of motion exercises have been shown to help decrease rigidity in muscles. Also having an extended cool down session (that involves the gradual slowing down of movements) can help to reduce stiffness following exercise.

Exercises for Parkinson's disease

Here is our list of exercises for those with Parkinson's. Many use the adjustable, high strength Velcro straps which secure to your hands or feet allowing you to use weight without having to grip.

Note: Many of these exercises can be done at a much slower speed than show in the video. Many can also be done in a seated position. 

Front Shoulder Raise

Yvonne demonstrates the shoulder raise, an exercise that primarily strengthens the shoulders and can be done from a standing or seated position.

Lying Arm Raise and Press

Yvonne demonstrates the lying arm raise and press, an exercise that strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, upper back and core. This exercise can be performed from a lying, seated or standing position.

Wood Choppers

Yvonne demonstrates wood choppers. This exercise is fantastic for strengthening the core and developing balance and coordination. Be sure to practice this exercise much slower than shown in the video.

Calf Raises

Yvonne demonstrates calf raises using the 7 lbs orange Gravity Ball (the lighter blue Gravity Ball can be used in place). This exercise is great for developing lower leg strength and balance.

Chest Flies

Yvonne demonstrates chest flies, an exercise that strengthens the chest, shoulders and back and can be done in a seated or standing position.