Yoga is often considered a good starting point for those exploring exercise as part of a Parkinson’s treatment plan. It is easily adaptable for those with mobility challenges. Yoga also features breathing exercises and meditation, which can help people with Parkinson’s develop greater self-awareness and a greater sense of control and connection to their bodies.
Yoga can help increase flexibility, strength, mobility and improve other symptoms for people with Parkinson’s. It has been shown to visibly reduce tremors, according to the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA).
It can also improve gait, steadiness and make walking easier. For those with severe balance issues or mobility challenges, yoga offers a variety of seated and modified postures. Different poses target particular muscle groups, which can help to control tremors in those areas of the body. Rigidity is a common symptom of Parkinson’s, so gentle stretching movements can help with flexibility and expanding range of motion. Yoga can also loosen up stiff hip joints, which reduces the shuffling gait associated with the disease.
Yoga can also help address the mental and emotional effects of living with Parkinson’s. Yoga breathing produces a calming effect by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. This lowers stress levels and helps a person sleep better. Some people with Parkinson’s experience panic when “freezing,” and yoga can be one way to help calm down and regain a sense of control.
Yoga practices are included as part of the exercise program delivered by Wellthon’s mobile app. Based on the evidence-based Delay the Disease workout program, users have seen noticeable improvement after participation. These exercise routines have been designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s to be safe to perform, and to reduce symptoms.