People with Parkinson’s often have problems with posture: some are bending forward, others may flex their trunk to one side. As the disease progresses, people also start having problems with balance, which affects walking and also increases the possibility of falling. Thus, it is important for patients to train and improve their balance as soon as the diagnosis has been made, to prevent or delay these problems.
In her video, Pascale van Uytvinck, physiotherapist and member from ParkinsonNet Luxembourg, shows exercises that can help Parkinson’s patients enhance their balance when they are still in a good physical condition. “The exercises can be done at home using a chair to hold on at the beginning, if needed”, Pascale describes. “They involve both the arms and legs and therefore can help to get an overall better body awareness. Regular repetitions help to train the sense of balance, to ensure confident movements in everyday life and to prevent falls.”
In many daily situations, we need to adapt our balance: Whenever we reach out to grab something, move parts of our body or simply walk, we have to shift our body weight to maintain our equilibrium. The rotation of the head also initiates a change in balance and reactions are needed in order to stabilise the movement. A regular training can help Parkinson patients deal with these issues and improve their overall quality of life. It is an important aspect of the therapy.
“The degree of difficulty of each exercise can easily be adapted according to each person’s performance”, Pascale explains in her video. “Using juggling balls or a balance cushion for example increases the level of difficulty and strengthens even more the coordination and sense of equilibrium.”
The exercises shown in the video are especially recommended for people at an early stage of Parkinson’s disease. Please make sure to use a chair or something similar for stabilisation when needed to prevent a fall. Additionally, you should always discuss the exercises with your physiotherapist to ensure a personalised and effective therapy.