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Exercise Your Whole Body With the PD Warrior Circuit

Posted on September 27, 2021
Medically reviewed by
Amit M. Shelat, D.O.
Article written by
Torrey Kim

This week, PD Warrior founder Melissa McConaghy and head online coach Jason King demonstrate movements and strategies involved in a complete workout circuit to provide people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) a full-body workout.

During previous weeks in this six-part series, you learned how to warm up, tackle tremor, overcome bradykinesia (slow movements), boost agility, and perform neuroprotective exercises. This week’s videos share a complete exercise routine for people with Parkinson’s disease. You can modify the specific exercises based on the type of PD you have and your level of comfort with exercising.

Consider these steps before you work through the videos:

  • 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 may be normal to feel some muscle soreness following exercise.
  • Warming up, stretching, and staying hydrated can help combat muscle soreness.
  • Keep a chair or other item nearby for stability in case you need to lean on it or sit down.

Here are the videos in the PD Warrior circuit routine, starting with some warm-up exercises. You’ll need a tissue box or an item of similar size for one exercise, and a chair for another. Written steps for each exercise are included: You can write them down or print them for reference.

Warm-Up Exercises

  • Simple ladder climb — Marching in place, maintain a steady rhythm as you alternately lift a knee to chest level while raising the opposite arm toward the ceiling. Depending on your range of movement and comfort level, you may choose to lift your knee to hip level and/or reach your arms out in front of you as you march. Repeat the motions three to five times.
  • Single-leg stance — Squat down with your legs hip-distance apart. Next, stand upright with all of your weight on the left foot while thrusting your arms up and out to the sides. Repeat the movement, but this time, put your weight on the right foot. Try to hold the pose for a moment before switching legs. Repeat the movement three to five times.
  • Rotations — Stand with your legs hip-distance apart. Pivot your feet as you twist from side to side. After a couple of movements, extend your arms out to the sides, if possible, as you continue to pivot side to side. Repeat this movement several times.

Once you're warmed up, try this exercise circuit, consisting of four exercises.

Over the River

  • Start by placing a tissue box or other similar-sized item in front of you.
  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, then raise your left leg to chest height and step over the box with your right arm stretched in front of you and your left arm stretched behind you.
  • Hold that pose for several seconds, and then step your right leg over the box so that you're standing with your feet side by side.
  • March in place, taking four big steps as you turn 180 degrees to face the item you’re stepping over.
  • Repeat this move, leading with your right leg first, then the left leg again. Repeat the exercise three to five times.

Heisman

  • With your legs hip-distance apart, hold your fists to your chest.
  • Turn on your feet as you pivot your body to the left while pushing your left arm out from your chest.
  • Raise your left leg in front of you to hip height while pulling in your left arm and extending your right arm forward. Hold this position for several seconds.
  • Lower your leg to the floor behind you as you pull back your right arm and extend your left arm again in front of you.
  • Repeat this move, but turning to the right this time, and then the left again. Repeat this movement three to five times.

Penguin Waddle

  • Starting by planting your feet hip-distance apart and your arms straight to your sides.
  • Shift your balance from side to side, moving your weight to the left leg and lifting the right leg off the floor, then shifting in the other direction. This pendulum-like movement will resemble a penguin slowly waddling in place.
  • If you feel comfortable with the movements, add your arms: Rotate them straight out to your sides, then in front of you, then back to the sides as you shift your weight from the right leg to the left and back again.
  • Perform this move three to five more times while making a complete 360-degree turn.

Sky Reach

Watch the previous workout

  • Sit in a chair — without arms, if possible — with your legs spread in front of you.
  • Sit on the edge of the chair and grasp the bottom with your right hand for stability.
  • Rotate your left arm down toward your right leg as if you’re punching the ground. If possible, turn your torso so that you’re looking behind you.
  • Sit up as you reach that arm out to your left side, then rotate it behind you. Hold on to your right leg with your right hand to prevent it from dropping toward your left leg.
  • Return to your original position, then perform this move, punching down with your right arm toward your left leg.
  • Repeat this move from one side to the other three to five times.

MyParkinsonsTeam has partnered with PD Warrior — an organization that specializes in providing rehabilitative exercise programs to people with Parkinson’s disease — to help spark your exercise journey. One way to live well with Parkinson’s disease is to make exercise part of your life — as long as your health care team is on board. Participating in an exercise program may help you manage PD symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and keep you in a healthy routine.

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. In doing so, 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 effects 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.

A MyParkinsonsTeam Member said:

I have a similar problem. Tripping going up steps and have fallen flat on my face. Recently fell sideways and fractured two ribs. Have been doing rehab exercises and able to catch myself before I… read more

posted 23 days ago

hug

Amit M. Shelat, D.O. is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American College of Physicians. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Torrey Kim is the managing editor at MyHealthTeams and has over a decade of experience writing about medical conditions. Learn more about her here.

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