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Boost Your Agility With These PD Exercises

Updated on September 20, 2021
Medically reviewed by
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D.
Article written by
Torrey Kim

This week, PD Warrior founder Melissa McConaghy and physical therapist Camille Mance demonstrate how to perform specific exercises that can help people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) increase their agility.

Watch the previous workout Watch the next workout

Some people with Parkinson’s disease may experience falling, loss of confidence, or a feeling of “freezing” — when it seems like your feet stick to the floor. Performing targeted exercises, such as the box step, can help in overcoming movement difficulties associated with PD.

MyParkinsonsTeam has partnered with PD Warrior — an organization that specializes in providing rehabilitative exercise programs to people with Parkinson’s disease — to provide a six-part series of exercises for people living with PD.

In previous weeks, you learned how to warm up, tackle tremor, and overcome bradykinesia (slowness of movement). This week’s low-impact exercises can help you increase your agility — including one exercise called the box step.

Consider these steps before you work through the video:

  • If you aren’t accustomed to exercising, check with your physician first.
  • If your doctor gives you clearance, it is suggested that you warm up prior to exercising and stretch after you complete your session.
  • Try to engage in exercise three times per week.
  • It’s normal to feel some muscle soreness following exercise.
  • Warming up, stretching, and staying hydrated can help combat muscle soreness.

Below are the written steps of the box step exercise shown in the video above. You can write them down or print them for reference:

  • Start by marching slowly in place, raising your knees as high as possible. If you feel imbalanced, have a chair or wall nearby to hold on to.
  • Next, keeping to a steady beat, take a full step forward while marching. Then, take a marching step backward. Repeat this motion, maintaining the steady rhythm of your march.
  • Add your arms to the above exercise: As you step forward with your lead foot, push your arms forward from your chest. When you bring the other foot forward, pull your arms back again. Then step backward, against extending your arms as you move your lead foot back and pulling them back as you bring back the other foot. Try to perform this exercise twice starting with your right leg and twice more starting with your left leg before you take a break.
  • If adding the arm movements is too strenuous, focus only on marching forward and backward at first, and work up to the arm addition.

To better tailor the exercises to your specific needs, consider taking the What Type of Parkinson’s Do You Have? quiz from PD Warrior.

About PD Warrior

PD Warrior offers in-person and online regular, targeted, and personalized exercise programs to help reduce parkinsonian symptoms — from the comfort and privacy of your home.

PD Warrior’s signature 10 Week Challenge is the leading exercise rehabilitation program for people with Parkinson’s. Designed by renowned neurophysiotherapist Melissa McConaghy, the 10 Week Challenge is tailored to suit the individual needs of participants and their specific types of Parkinson’s. This rehab program will make you move, stretch, and sweat, but most of all, you will feel good. Find out more about the 10 Week Challenge.

PD Warrior’s online gym offers the option to join an intimate group, one-to-one private coaching sessions, or a combination of both. No matter what you choose, you will be training with an experienced PD Warrior coach who will work to your ability and provide exercises specific to your Parkinson’s. Find out more about PD Warrior.

Find Your Team

Through MyParkinsonsTeam, you can join an online social network for those living with Parkinson’s disease. You will gain access to a social support group of people who are facing similar challenges and understand what you are going through. Start a new conversation on MyParkinsonsTeam.

Disclaimer: The exercises provided by PD Warrior are general in nature and are not to be interpreted as a specific treatment plan, product, or course of action. Exercise is not without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. Risks include and are not limited to injury, aggravation of a preexisting condition, or adverse effect of overexertion, such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, loss of balance, falls, disorders of heartbeat, and rare instances of a heart attack.

To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, please consult your health care provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise instruction and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for an individual consultation. PD Warrior and MyHealthTeams disclaim any liability from and in connection with this program. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel dizzy or faint, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult with a physician. Please see your health professional immediately, if you suspect you may be ill or injured.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D. is a neurology and pediatric specialist and treats disorders of the brain in children. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about her here.
Torrey Kim is a freelance writer with MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

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