Don’t get him confused with Al, another client with Parkinson’s who I train in the post here. Guess you could say I’m one lucky girl, blessed with honor of working with two very hard-working men who both happen to have Parkinson’s. And although two is hardly a large sample size, the progress in both Al and Bob that I’ve seen over the course of over a year now has been nothing short of impressive and inspirational.
Whether you’re over 70 or new to training, I hope his story encourages you to take that first step to overcome whatever challenge is holding you back from stepping into the gym.
And you don’t have to take my word, or his; a study conducted on a group of patients with Parkinson’s that followed a program of resistance training demonstrated a significant reduction in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (motor subscale (UPDRS-III)), and recommended resistance training as a useful therapy to improve Parkinsonian motor signs.
Sumi: Why did you decide to begin a strength program?
Bob: I began strength training and other exercising to keep my Parkinson’s / Scoliosis under control. I figured that the doctor’s request for physical therapy alone would not be as beneficial to my overall training. I have found PT folks tend to only treat the affected areas rather than the overall body.
Sumi: Do you see strength training as a necessary evil? Or something you enjoy?
Bob: I see strength training a tool for better mobility, agility and overall body conditioning. In discussions with my doctors I have received their approvals for all of the exercise programs I take part in.
I look forward, most days, to my weekly exercise program. Like anybody else, I have my days when I’d rather find an excuse not to challenge my body. The last few years I have been able to hold my current 183 lbs. I was a lot heaver ten to twelve years ago at one time, 245 lbs. back before I retired. Mostly by watching what I ate as well as portion control. No set diet.
Sumi: Have you seen changes and improvements since beginning with training?
Bob: Resistance training has brought better mobility and agility to my 70’s plus body. I feel more control overall body movements like bending, stooping, getting up from prone positions. As an extra bonus I have developed some rather awesome definition in my muscles.
Sumi: What do you think of other people your age group (70′s and above) beginning with strength training?
Bob: What makes sense to me? No matter what your medical history or if you have not exercised in a while, some basic strength training would ease some of the ache and pains we feel in our everyday life. Check with your doctor, they should have a better feel for what is best for you.
Stop telling yourselves you can’t. Think positive.
For example my collection of what has changed along the way trophy wise. I have a right knee total replacement, total left hip total replacement, Parkinson’s, level 4 Scoliosis and a heavy dose of arthritis.
Sumi: What do you look forward to most in a training session?
Bob: I like to establishing a good balance in upper and lower extremity exercise during the training session. Along with a good tendon and ligament stretching while warming up to feel limber.
Keep a good sense of humor, and let your trainer know if a certain exercise has caused undue strain on area on your body. A good working relationship between you and your trainer is very important part of the equation.