Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Pedaling for Parkinson’s

By Rachel Reynolds

For anyone with a neurological disorder, exercise is so important. Yet joining mainstream fitness classes can be – well, not a good fit. Fortunately, there are several classes in the area designed specifically for persons with movement disorders.

The YMCA of Greater Louisville is partnering with the University of Louisville Movement Disorders Clinic to provide a "Pedaling for Parkinson’s” exercise program. The program, which started in April 2018, offers people with Parkinson’s disease a safe outlet for regular exercise in one of the most effective ways possible: pedaling a bicycle.

“There’s research that shows pedaling helps with movement and can improve symptoms,” says Kathy Mullaney, a Pedaling for Parkinson’s instructor at the YMCA at Norton Commons. “We keep the music low in class because there’s lots of conversation going on. People share names of doctors, talk about the latest research, and all kinds of things.”

Fast pedaling is not a cure for Parkinson’s disease, but research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic showed a 35 percent reduction in symptoms from the simple action of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace.

Mullaney says participants with Parkinson’s can also bring a caregiver or support person to class with them. The first 30 minutes are spent riding a stationary bike, and the final 25 minutes are spent stretching, doing push-ups against a barre, and exercising with a ball.

“All of the participants are amazing and really inspiring,” Mullaney says. “And they work out really hard.”

If you are interested in signing up for one of the classes held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays, contact Karen Wyatt at kwyatt@ymcalouisville.org or at 502.222.9358. You also can find out about other participating branches here. Participants must be 30-75 years old and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The first three classes free with a physician’s referral, then $40/month for three months (includes Y membership).

Extra tidbit: Another high intensity workout for people who have Parkinson's disease. 

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