BGF Launches Online Parkinson’s Exercise Training for Professionals

The program offers free online courses for physical therapists, personal trainers and group fitness professionals to create safe and effective exercise classes for people living with Parkinson’s.

Portland, Ore., (Aug. 14, 2018) – The Brian Grant Foundation (BGF) has launched an online training program for physical therapists, personal trainers and group fitness instructors to develop safe and effective exercise classes for people living with Parkinson’s disease. The program is based on research from Oregon Health & Science University’s Balance Disorders Laboratory, which shows how to slow down the mobility problems associated with Parkinson’s using a variety of physical and cognitive activities.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative, neurological disorder that affects the cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a chemical that helps initiate and control movement. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, studies suggest a consistent, vigorous fitness routine may improve motor symptoms common in people with Parkinson’s, such as rigidity, slow and small movements, and impaired balance and coordination, along with non-motor symptoms such as depression, anxiety and sleep difficulties.

“After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I looked for ways to combat the symptoms that I was experiencing while keeping my physical abilities as long as possible,” said Brian Grant, former NBA player and BGF founder. “I learned the importance of staying flexible, keeping good posture and practicing specific movements to address symptoms of the disease.”

Getting people into Parkinson’s-specific exercise programs in the early stages of diagnosis is fundamental because the sooner a person with the disease starts a workout routine, the better their chances of slowing the progression of symptoms. Any exercise is better than none, but ideally, workouts should be higher intensity and include a variety of activities that have been shown to help target the common symptoms of Parkinson’s. For example, lunges are helpful for improving small movements while yoga increases flexibility and coordination.

That’s why the Exercise for Parkinson’s Training for Professionals program is such a game-changer. Instructors will learn how to safely and effectively train people with Parkinson’s using activities that offer the greatest benefits for symptoms. And most importantly, they’ll empower their clients to stay motivated, healthy and social by giving them the chance to work out with others who have Parkinson’s disease.

BGF is recognized by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) as an approved continuing education provider. Exercise professionals certified through NASM or AFAA will receive continuing education credit for completing the online Exercise for Parkinson’s Training. To register for this free training, visit training.briangrant.org.

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Brian Grant Foundation: Founded in 2010 by former NBA player Brian Grant, who is living with Parkinson’s, the Brian Grant Foundation provides tools to improve the well-being of people with the disease. BGF’s programs focus on exercise and nutrition to help people with Parkinson’s manage their symptoms, improve their overall health and prevent other serious illnesses. Learn more at briangrant.org.