New Connections Fitness Class for Neurological Conditions

Wednesdays at 12 pm, starting Sept 11th, 2019
Cost: Drop in $20, 5 classes $75, 10 classes $140
Support Providers attend for free

Research has shown that exercise can improve flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, gait, and strength; as well as cause positive changes in the brain. Researchers are also looking at how specific types of movements may help counteract some of the motor symptoms that are common in Parkinsons and other neurological disorders.

Any exercise is better than none. Parkinson’s patients enrolled in exercise programs for longer than six months, regardless of intensity, have shown significant gains in function. However, greater intensity reaps greater benefits for people with Parkinson’s. That’s why experts recommend that people with Parkinson’s exercise with as much intensity as is safely possible for as long as possible. The exercise sessions should be challenging, requiring focus, effort and full attention. For example, walking on a treadmill is good, but also try walking quickly outside with distractions, obstacles and changes in terrain. People with Parkinson’s should aim for the following for how much and when to exercise:

  • Begin training in the early stages of Parkinson’s
  • Train most days of the week, for at least one hour
  • Add mental and physical challenges when appropriate and safe
  • Train at higher intensity levels, meaning you can still talk while training but in short bursts

New Connections class is based on research from the Balance Disorders Laboratory at OHSU. Classes will include:

  • Big movements
  • Full, functional, sequential movements
  • Self-initiated/self-paced exercises
  • Planning and decision-making movements
  • Reciprocal arm and leg movements
  • Torso rotations
  • Erect posture exercises
  • Controlled slow and quick movements
  • Balance and stability exercises
  • Strengthening of extensor muscles and stretching of flexor muscles
  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Dual task exercises (performing multiple tasks simultaneously) that include both physical and cognitive tasks
  • Exercises that improve sensorimotor awareness
  • Exercises that involve the whole body
  • Progressively increasing the complexity of movements by varying contexts
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