A gym class which provides high intensity exercise classes specifically designed for patients in the early stages of Parkinson's has been highly commended at this year's UK Parkinson's Excellence Network Awards 2019.
The classes have been developed by physiotherapists in Stobhill Hospital’s rehabilitation team and are already showing benefits.
The Excellence Network Awards are now in their third year and recognise outstanding health and social care services for people affected by Parkinson’s.
Parkinson's is a slowly progressive neurological condition which affects movement such as walking, talking and writing. There are around 145,000 people in the UK diagnosed with Parkinson's in the UK - around one adult in every 350.
Specialist Physiotherapist Aimi McGeough, who set up the class, said: “Parkinson’s is a disease which causes movement to become slower and smaller, making everyday activities more difficult.
“Research shows that exercise is especially good for people with Parkinson's. There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach so we work with patients to indentify the best exercise for them depending on how Parkinson's affects them.
“The specialist exercises we’re doing with patients need to be challenging and intense enough to stimulate the ability of the brain to change.
“There’s emerging evidence that such exercises engage the brain’s mechanisms to prevent further degeneration and slow the progression of symptoms, most notably in the early stages of the disease.
“To achieve maximum benefit, people with Parkinson’s must engage in this exercise long term. Therefore our aim is to work with patients in new ways not only in hospital, but also to carry on the good work they’re doing with us into the community.
“I’ve been going out to sports centres in the area at weekends to train staff so that when our patients are discharged back in to the local community there will be appropriate classes for them.
“As a service we firmly believe this will have a real positive impact on people’s lives and I’ve been working with Parkinson’s UK and our Health Improvement team in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to develop a Parkinson's community exercise class which East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture has agreed to host.”
Parkinson's is a disease in which nerve cells that deliver the neurotransmitter dopamine to other cells are reduced in numbers. As cell death spreads to ever larger parts of the brain more centres are affected. This results in an aggravation of motor and non motor disorders.
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Pic: Two patients go through their paces at Stobhill's gym class for patient with early stage Parkinson's