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Tackle Parkinson’s Tremor With Targeted Exercises

Posted on September 07, 2021
Medically reviewed by
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D.
Article written by
Torrey Kim

This week, PD Warrior founder Melissa McConaghy and head online coach Jason King demonstrate how you can perform specific exercises to help manage tremor activity. To perform these exercises, you can use a plush ball (which can be purchased at a toy store, baby store, or pet shop), a deflated ball, or another soft, light ball.

Watch the previous workout Watch the next workout

Parkinson’s disease (PD) can sometimes cause tremor, involuntary shaking or movement that often affects the hands. Engaging in specific exercises, such as “the coconut crack” demonstrated in this video, can help manage your tremor.

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. These low-impact exercises can help you increase your motor output.

Previously in the series, you saw how to warm up before jumping into a new exercise program. Then you learned exercises that can help people experiencing bradykinesia (slow movements).

Consider these steps before you work through this week's 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.
  • Feeling some muscle soreness following exercise is normal.
  • Maintaining hydration, stretching, and warming up can help combat muscle soreness.

Below are the written steps of the coconut crack, demonstrated in the video above. For this exercise, you’ll need a plush ball, deflated ball, or some other type of soft, light ball. You can write these steps down or print them for reference:

  • Stand with your legs at about hip distance apart while holding the ball in front of you.
  • Hold the ball over your head with both hands, then use as much effort as possible to swiftly throw the ball down onto the floor. Try to catch it on the bounce. Repeat this exercise three to five times.
  • For the next phase of the exercise, turn to the left, taking high steps as you lift your knees to chest level as you turn. Plant your feet and perform the exercise above, throwing the ball to the floor with force and catching it. Return to center, again taking big steps with high knees as you turn, and repeat the throwing exercise. Then turn to the right, with high steps, and repeat the exercise again. Perform this exercise three to five times.
  • For the third phase of the exercise, turn to the left and hold the ball outward in front of you with both hands. Slowly swing the ball upward over your head as you turn your body to the right. As you complete your turn, maintain outstretched arms as you swing the ball downward. Throw the ball to the floor, catch it, and repeat the movements in the opposite direction. Do the exercise three to five times.

If you can’t do the exercise more than a few times, that’s OK — you can work your way up to the recommended repetitions over time.

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 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.

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 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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