Fitness: Is Pilates Good for Parkinson's Patients? (cont.)
Based on results from the animal studies, I encourage aerobic exercise in addition to strengthening, balance, and flexibility work. If you have trouble walking because of balance problems, then I recommend holding on to the side rails of the treadmill (research proves that activities of daily living, motor performance, and ambulation improve even if you hold on), and I also recommend the use of walking sticks (or poles), but I recommend two, and not one. Two sticks help maintain better posture and gait than walking with one cane. I recommend the high-tech, low-weight type of walking sticks that you can purchase in sporting goods or outdoor stores. They are sold in pairs, and some are telescopic, so that they shorten for ease in carrying them around.
To summarize, any Pilates exercise that builds strength (as many of them do) and balance will be beneficial, but you need to incorporate standing exercises as part of your regime. If you don't do that with Pilates, then I recommend traditional standing weight-lifting exercises as a complement to your Pilates work. I also encourage aerobic exercise like walking or biking to help with some of the changes in the brain that have been observed in animals. Good luck with your workouts.
Thank you for your question.
Last Editorial Review: 12/18/2006