There are things you can do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life with Parkinson’s.
Though there is no cure for Parkinson’s, research has demonstrated that exercise, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help people live better with PD. This page provides an overview of living with Parkinson’s to help you get started using the tools and resources on this website.
What can I expect on my journey with Parkinson’s?
There is a saying that “once you’ve met one person with Parkinson’s, you’ve met one person with Parkinson’s.” That is because each person with Parkinson’s has their own unique experience with the symptoms of the disease.
Parkinson’s is associated with a range of motor and non-motor symptoms. In other words, some of your symptoms will be related to movement and some will not. Learning about Parkinson’s so that you can recognize your symptoms and talk to your healthcare providers about them will help you make a treatment plan that works best for your unique experience. Your symptoms will change over time so having a healthcare team that can work with you to update your treatment plan is an essential part of your Parkinson’s journey.
Another great way to learn about Parkinson’s is to meet others with the disease. Support groups, exercise classes and other events for people with Parkinson’s can help you connect to an understanding community. Sharing your experience with others can be very helpful on your journey with Parkinson’s.
Research has also shown that exercise, nutrition and other healthy behaviors can help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The goal of this website is to provide you with tools that can help you manage your Parkinson’s symptoms and improve your quality of life with the disease.
What can I do to manage my Parkinson’s symptoms and improve my quality of life?
Exercise! There is no single better therapy for managing Parkinson’s symptoms and improving quality of life. All exercise is good exercise. Find an activity that you enjoy doing and stick with it!
A healthy diet is also important for managing Parkinson’s symptoms and improving overall health. Constipation, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression are among some of the common symptoms of Parkinson’s that can be helped with diet. A healthy diet can also support healthy brain functions.
Staying socially engaged and doing the things you enjoy with the people you love is also vital for your physical and mental health. We suggest finding a Parkinson’s exercise class so that you can also gain the benefits of physical activity.
What type of exercise is best for Parkinson’s?
All exercise is good exercise! Finding an activity that you enjoy will help you stick with it. If you’re interested in joining an exercise class specifically for Parkinson’s, there are many options available. Our online Parkinson’s exercise classfinder is a good place to start your search.
Research has also shown that aerobic exercise combined with goal-based training (agility, balance, strength, flexibility, sensory and cognition) can effectively support the management of Parkinson’s symptoms. Our website provides some examples of the types of activities that are effective for a range of symptoms. A physical therapist can also help design an exercise program that supports symptom management and overall health.
What is a healthy diet for Parkinson’s?
A diet that contains lots of non-processed and plant-based foods promotes overall health and helps prevent serious illnesses. This type of diet can also help some of the common symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Though more research is needed to understand the links between diet and Parkinson’s, studies suggest that the staples of the Mediterranean diet – fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, olive oil and some fish – can be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s. In addition to helping manage symptoms, these foods are high in nutrients that help protect cells and maintain function.
Our website has more information about nutrition and Parkinson’s, including guidelines, recipes and cooking videos.
What do you mean by a healthy lifestyle for Parkinson’s?
Lifestyle is essentially the way you live your life. Exercise and diet are included in lifestyle. But lifestyle also includes social interactions and relationships, daily activities and hobbies, employment and finances, and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that guide your choices.
People with Parkinson’s may experience physical, mental and emotional issues that impact lifestyle – and lifestyle also has a big impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. Adopting healthy behaviors can support your overall health to help you continue living a fulfilling life.
A healthy lifestyle may include:
- Staying active
- Eating a healthy diet
- Developing and maintaining relationships
- Participating in hobbies
- Managing employment and finances
- Engaging in self-care to reduce stress and improve mood
- Getting enough sleep
- Living a mindful, purposeful and fulfilling life
- Feeling good about yourself
Our website provides resources to help you explore lifestyle topics and try techniques that can support your well-being. We suggest picking one or two areas to focus on improving – and exercise is a great place to start because of its many benefits to your physical, mental and emotional health.
Small changes in your lifestyle can make big differences to your health and quality of life. Start slowly and remember to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.