A new exercise approach is proving highly beneficial for Shetland residents with Parkinson’s disease.
For the past three months a dozen sufferers have been trying out the “Might Moves” exercise class in Scalloway, funded by Parkinson’s UK.
The class, run by Margaret Gear at the Yasp physiotherapy clinic, uses high amplitude, high velocity movements that start gently and gradually gather pace.
Recent research has shown that this approach can be much more effective than previous exercise methods used in Parkinson’s. Indeed, some experts suggest that the new type of exercise can be as important as medication in controlling symptoms.
Ms Gear said: “We hadn’t tried this approach before, so we were thrilled to see how much more the participants could do after the classes.
“We took standardised measurements before and after three months of exercise. We were delighted to find that every participant who had exercised for three months was able to stand up, walk and turn around more quickly. Some had almost doubled their speed.
“Class participants also reported improvements in everyday activities such as walking, getting in and out of cars, reaching and writing, as well as reduced symptoms like tremor and stiffness.”
Ms Gear said the wide-ranging effects were thought to be due to the beneficial effect of this type of exercise on brain chemistry.
The class had also emphasised how much they appreciated being with others who understood their condition, and the importance of having a good laugh and a social time while exercising.
But for those who are unable to join, or don’t want to join a class, Ms Gear can suggest a home exercise programme instead.
The Parkinson’s exercise class is continuing at Yasp and there are still a few spaces left. For more information or to enquire about joining call Ms Gear on (01595) 747074.