May 14, 2015

Ingredients in My Morning Exercise Program: Start with a Few BIG Exercises

I haven't talked much about exercise lately, but it may well be my most effective way to slow down the adverse effects of both Parkinson's (PD) and aging. I'm writing this post from the apartment we've rented in the Tuscan hill town of Cortona for two weeks. Nearing the end of the first week, I've been amazed by the positive health benefits I've felt from exercise -- and a few other changes -- during this holiday.

I'll report on those developments when I return home. For now, I want to run a series of posts about my morning exercise/meditation routine that I prepared before I left for Italy.

I don't have access to my Dragon voice-recognition software, so I'm back to using my error-prone fingers on the keyboard. I'm also dealing with the peculiarities of the Italian keyboard on my newly purchased laptop. Worst of all, the laptop uses Windows 8.1. Now I understand why this particular version generated such negative reviews when Microsoft launched it.

BIG Exercises for Parkinson's
The foundation for my current exercise regimen dates back to the training in the BIG exercise program I began six years ago shortly after my PD diagnosis. BIG was developed by Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, the same organization that introduced the LOUD speech therapy for people with PD.

The full exercise program consists of six exercises done with BIG movements. It's pretty intense and probably best suited for people in the early stages of the disease. For more information on BIG and videos featuring "Jane Fonda" Schappi, click here.

I did these exercises pretty faithfully for several years but gradually slacked off. I still use two of the exercises in my current program but I only do the routines for a couple reps, not the recommended ten or twenty times.

I chose these two exercises because they're the most effective in dealing with my balance problems.

Rock and Reach

Take a Bow

Next we'll look at exercises to strengthen core muscle and treat lower back pain.

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