Exercise – Adapting is key

A song can be sung in different ways – if the original key is too high for your voice for example, you can sing it in a different key. You can also sing it faster or slower. You can adapt songs to suit you.

I help to run a Facebook group for people with Parkinson’s (Start Living Today PD). Our key words are positive, motivated and happy. Exercise is also a big focus. My friend Heidi who founded the group is a big fan of exercise and does a lot of motivational videos for the group. But, and here’s the key – it’s always about adapting as necessary to suit the individual. Parkinson’s is a very individual condition and people’s symptoms vary. So while some of us (not me, I hasten to add) might be training for marathons for example, Heidi recognises the diversity of the group and always makes exercises adaptable.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of exercise – PE (Physical Education) was my worst subject at school – I always found it difficult. However, I do a fair amount of walking on a daily basis. I commute to work by public transport – and in doing so, I walk about 50 min a day (over the course of my commute to and from work) and I also go out for a walk at lunchtime, almost every working day, with one of my friends. We’ve been known to go out in the pouring rain and even got hailed on once! We did do a shorter walk that day. However, it’s my way of building exercise into my routine – in a way that I know is realistic for me.

Exercise is such an important part of staying healthy, but we don’t all have to do it in the same way. In our group, everyone is encouraged to exercise regularly, in whatever way, and to whatever level, they are able to. And everyone can set their own goals. Just like songs can be adapted to suit individual voices, exercise can also be adapted to suit individuals.

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