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#2 in a series about movement as medicine

"That'll teach YOU to mess with my neurons!" There's only one treatment PROVEN to slow (or even halt) the progression of Parkinson's Disease: high-intensity exercise. Think about it. We all have the power to do what no doctor or drug could ever do. We can reclaim power over our bodies and help fight PD in the trenches... those mysterious squiggles of our brains. According to the National Institute of Health, "After a single bout of high intensity forced-exercise, functional MRI data indicated altered CNS patterns of activation in the primary motor cortex, supplementary motor area, thalamus, globus pallidus and putamen in PwPD, similar to patterns seen following levodopa administration [36, 37]." In laymen's terms: hit the gym, baby.

Based on positive clinical findings and trials, it is advised that PwPD perform aerobic exercise in the following dose: 3x/week, 30–40-minute main exercise set, 60–80% of heart rate reserve or 70–85% of heart rate max. - National Institute of Health

But let's be honest here. It's not always easy to make time or find the energy to work out at the high-intensity level required to make a difference. And Parkinson's apathy is REAL.

It helps to work out with friends. It also helps to tap into your competitive side. Can I run faster than two days ago? Pedal at a faster cadence? Lift more? The people I know who are living well with Parkinson's yeas after diagnosis, are the people who have that competitive spirit. They want to WIN.

Take my friend Margie, a competitive athlete and bad-ass Table Tennis champion, who continues to amaze with her health, energy and attitude. She plays in a regular Tennis Table League, against (mostly) men without PD, and very seriously holds her own. "I'm competing as an athlete, not as a person with PD," she says. When she's in the zone, "I get in an altered state, I don’t feel as impaired. I feel really strong."

Or my friend Dan, who pushes himself by boxing, rowing, and going on what he calls "forced marches."

"I walk about 3 or 4 miles from home and then I HAVE to walk back. No way am I going to call my wife or take an Uber."

Bottom line: don't let a sneaky #$%$$ like Parkinson's get the upper hand. Kick its butt. You have the power!

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