Exercise for Brain Change

Trina and I are both certified in a program that focuses in optimizing movement for those living with Parkinson’s. The Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery Program PWR! Exercise4Brain Change program informs much of the work we do in Brains and Bells and we are excited to share this with you!

Neuroplasticity –or brain plasticity – is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or rewire itself. Our brains have the ability to form new neural connections through environmental enrichment and motor stimuli. The more sensory and motor stimulation a person receives, the more likely they will be able to recover from brain trauma. Exercise can change your brain.

Exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of dementia and to slow the progression of symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, people who exercise vigorously have fewer changes in their brains caused by aging.

Exercise is more than just fitness; it is a physiological tool in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.” Becky Farley, PhD, MS, PT CEO/Founder PWR!

Recent advances in basic and clinical science research suggest certain types of exercises may promote brain change in persons with PD. This approach incorporates high effort training of larger and faster functional movements called power moves (PWR! moves). Each of the four basic moves target skills shown by research to become impaired in PD and that interfere with everyday mobility.

These moves form the foundation for a standalone exercise program and can also be integrated into other research-based exercise approaches. This flexible yet repetitious approach allows for the optimal dosage for each individual to implement lifelong exercise programming.

This approach is most effective when it is started at DIAGNOSIS. By the time an individual is diagnosed they have already lost 40-60% of their production of dopamine. This is why it is important to get the word out to Neurologists about the importance of exercise in the progression of this disease.

The four core moves include:

· Antigravity extension (Posture)

· Weightshifing (Rocking)

· Axialmobility (Twisting)

· Transitions (Stepping)

This approach has also been shown to help healthy seniors for improved brain health, reducing risk of PD, increasing longevity, increasing cognitive scores associated with greater physical fitness and improving functional movement.

In other words, this program can benefit everyone and it is not limited to those with PD.

I invite you to think about movement and how you move through your day. How it enhances your experience and gives you the best chance possible by your choice to maintain a fitness routine now and for the rest of your life.

Have fun moving!

Lisa Palma