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Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Exercise for Parkinson's Disease

Via April 2024 Newsletter

Living with Parkinson's disease presents unique challenges that can significantly impact both  physical and mental well-being. Emerging research suggests that mindfulness-based exercise  could offer a promising avenue for managing symptoms and enhancing overall well-being for  

individuals with Parkinson's disease. Luckily for us, practices like Tai Chi and Yoga integrate  mindfulness principles with physical activity, offering a holistic approach to symptom  management. 

Key Benefits for Mindfulness-Based Exercise for  People with PD: 

Improved Motor Function: Mindfulness practices  such as tai chi, yoga, and qigong can enhance  motor function in individuals with Parkinson's  disease. Studies even link this to improved balance  and functional mobility in individuals with  mild-to-moderate Parkinson's. 

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Mindfulness-based  exercises help manage stress and anxiety by  promoting relaxation and fostering inner calm  which is linked with reduced stress levels and  improved psychological well-being in individuals  with Parkinson's disease.  

Enhanced Mind-Body Connection: Encouraging  individuals to pay better attention to bodily  sensations and movements fosters a deeper  awareness of the mind-body connection, targeting  improvements in balance, flexibility, and functional  mobility. 

Increased Social Support: Engaging in  

mindfulness-based exercise classes provides  social interaction and support, reducing feelings of  isolation and loneliness  

Additional Strategies to Include Mindfulness in Daily  Life: 

Mindful Breathing: Take a few moments each day to  focus on your breath. Sit comfortably, close your eyes,  and breathe deeply, paying attention to the sensation of  the breath entering and leaving your body. This practice  can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. 

Body Scan Meditation: Set aside time each day to  practice a body scan meditation. Lie down or sit  comfortably, and systematically scan your body from  head to toe, noticing any sensations or areas of tension.  This practice enhances body awareness and helps  release muscular tension.


Mindful Walking: Turn everyday activities like walking into  opportunities for mindfulness. Pay attention to each step  you take, noticing the sensation of your feet touching the  ground and the movement of your body. Mindful walking  can help improve balance and coordination while  promoting present-moment awareness. 

Gratitude Journaling: Take a few minutes each day to  write down things you're grateful for. Reflecting on the  positive aspects of your life can cultivate a sense of  gratitude and perspective, promoting emotional  well-being. 

As you can see, mindfulness-based exercise should play a part in anyone’s plan to manage PD! By integrating  mindfulness principles with physical activity, individuals with Parkinson's can enhance motor function, reduce  stress and anxiety, improve the mind-body connection, foster social support, and ultimately, enjoy a better quality  of life. 

Source - Yu X, Wu X, Hou G, Han P, Jiang L, Guo Q. The Impact of Tai Chi on Motor Function, Balance, and Quality of Life in Parkinson's  Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Jan 11;2021:6637612. doi:  10.1155/2021/6637612. PMID: 33505498; PMCID: PMC7814935.

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