Challenge Your Parkinson's Symptoms

Focus your attention and consciously control your habitual activities.

Check out these pages for more information:

Keep Your Brain Sharp!

Your brain is active all the time, changing connections; you choose how they change. Exercise your brain with attention-demanding activities.

Engage in enjoyable exercises that include moving, learning, and thinking.
  • Petzinger, G.M., Holschneider, D.P., Fisher, B.E., McEwen, S., Kintz, N., Halliday, M., et al, (2015).
  • The Effects of Exercise on Dopamine Neurotransmission in Parkinson's Disease: Targeting Neuroplasticity to Modulate Basal Ganglia Circuitry.
  • Brain Plasticity.
  • 1(1): 29–39.
  • [PubMed]
  • Duzel, E., van Praag, H., and Sendtner, M. (2016).
  • Can physical exercise in old age improve memory and hippocampal function?
  • Brain.
  • 139(Pt 3):662-73.
  • [PubMed]
Practice breathing while paying attention to how your chest and belly move.
  • Watch the Tai Chi explanation of belly breathing.
  • [PubMed]
Blow up a balloon, slowly, (stop if you feel light headed).
  • Sanches, V.S., Santos, F.M., Fernandes, J.M., Santos, M.L., Müller, P.T., Christofoletti, G. (2014).
  • Neurodegenerative disorders increase decline in respiratory muscle strength in older adults.
  • Respiratory Care.
  • 59(12):1838-45.
  • [PubMed]
Perform repetitive exercises focusing attention on accuracy.
  • Matta Mello Portugal, E., Cevada, T., Sobral Monteiro-Junior, R., Teixeira Guimarães, T., da Cruz Rubini, E., Lattari, E., et al. (2013).
  • Neuroscience of exercise: from neurobiology mechanisms to mental health.
  • Neuropsychobiology.
  • 68(1):1-14.
  • [PubMed]
Exercise at the pace you can consciously control. Movement is good for everyone; controlled movement is good for PWP.
Find new information that you can discuss with others.
  • Fonollosa J1,2, Neftci E1,3, and Rabinovich M1. (2015).
  • Learning of Chunking Sequences in Cognition and Behavior.
  • PLoS Computational Biology.
  • 11(11):e1004592. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004592.
  • [PubMed]
Have certain words practiced and available to speak to make the mouth muscles work. Memorize poems or famous sayings to practice each day -- keep the brain-mouth connection strong.
Train your posture to maintain an upright stance or seated position. Train your voice to be loud, with slow, clear speech patterns. Train your eyes to look others in the eye, and blink occasionally. Train your listening skills to pay attention to what you hear.

Train My Brain?

    • Get up often and stretch to maintain joint full extension in fingers, arms, and legs.
    • Move to increase or maintain your motivation .
      • Varanese, S., Perfetti, B., Ghilardi, M.F., and Di Rocco, A. (2011).
      • Apathy, but Not Depression, Reflects Inefficient Cognitive Strategies in Parkinson's Disease.
      • PLoS One.
      • 6(3): e17846. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017846.
      • [PubMed]
    • Standing or seated move your arms and legs in a coordinated manner.
      • Do some quasi-Tai Chi moves:
        • Slowly move arms to full extension then return (e.g. to the side and in, then forward and back)
        • Wipe the (imaginary) table with one hand and an (imaginary) window with the other.
        • Reach up and grab a "rope" and pull it down toward you, alternating hands.
        • While doing any of the above movements, try picking up and lowering one foot, slowly.
    • Whether sitting or standing, focus on maintaining a straight back posture.
      • Breathe in slowly while counting to four.
      • Blow out forcefully through pursed lips to the count of four.
      • Pull your shoulders back, hold while counting to four, relax.
      • Repeat this exercise several times.
    • Walk just a bit faster, consciously -- it trains your focused attention.
    • An increase in heart rate delivers more oxygen to the brain.
    • Do a safe exercise that increases your heart rate (e.g. walk on a treadmill, stationary bicycle, rowing machine)
    • Optional: Use a heart rate monitor or pulse oximeter to measure your heart rate during aerobic exercise.
    • Visit a friend -- engage in a conversation;
    • Write down your life purpose and follow it;
    • Plan a trip -- and go;
    • Attend a Parkinson's support group;
    • Think of other things that will engage your brain.
    • Learning may help prevent dementia - why not try.
      • Barulli, D. and Stern, Y. (2013).
      • Efficiency, capacity, compensation, maintenance, plasticity: emerging concepts in cognitive reserve.
      • Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
      • 17(10):502-9.
      • [PubMed]
    • Practice hand-eye coordination tasks,
    • Take up a new hobby or skill set,
    • Learn a new language.
Feel totally lacking in motivation? You are not alone. Don't linger by yourself. Socialize!
Click on the "Barriers" here or in the left column.
  • Kaufman, D.A., Bowers, D., Okun, M.S., Van Patten, R., and Perlstein, W.M. (2016).
  • Apathy, Novelty Processing, and the P3 Potential in Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Frontiers in Neurology [electronic resource].
  • 7:95. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2016.00095.
  • [PubMed]

Helpless? Only if you think so!