Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder in the aging population. Over time, Parkinson’s disease can have an effect on the muscles and motor coordination. Patients may experience rigidity and stiffness in their limbs, difficulties in walking, balance, and coordination problems. Implementing lifestyle changes and regular exercise can help to ease these undesirable symptoms and maintain a good quality of life for our loved ones.
Integrating agility and balance exercises to boost coordination can benefit our elderly. The following exercises are ideal for aging adults looking for improvements in motor coordination.
Ipsilateral and Contralateral Marching
Ipsilateral Marching: Signal the elderly to raise their right leg at 90 degrees and raise their right arm overhead simultaneously. Hold for five seconds and revert to the starting position. Next, signal the elderly to raise their left leg at 90 degrees and raise their left arm overhead simultaneously.
Contralateral Marching: Signal the elderly to raise their right leg at 90 degrees and raise their left arm overhead simultaneously. Hold for five seconds and revert to the starting position. Next, signal the elderly to raise their left leg at 90 degrees and raise their right arm overhead simultaneously.
This exercise boosts hand and foot coordination and can be performed in alternating cycles.
Ball Toss with Standing Balance
For beginners, start with positioning the elderly in a comfortable standing position. Using a soft ball the size of a tennis ball, signal the elderly to toss the ball into each hand. The elderly should be looking at the ball’s movements. To make it more challenging, the elderly can try to do the same exercise balancing on the right leg and then the left leg.
This exercise boosts eye and hand coordination while training balancing skills.
Signal and Reaction Squats
Facing the elderly, provide a left or right direction signal to the elderly. The elderly should turn to the direction signaled and perform a squat in a timely manner. Squats may be physically demanding for some elderly, a side step can be used instead.
This exercise boosts eye, foot, and reaction coordination.
Walk, Bounce, and Catch
In this exercise, the elderly walk forth and back while bouncing a small bouncy ball. The challenging part of this exercise is if the ball is bounced too far, the elderly must react accordingly in order to catch the ball.
This exercise boosts eye, hand, and feet coordination, and is stimulating for the brain at the same time.
Following a left or right vocal signal, the elderly should perform a step-up leading with the right or left as per the signal. This exercise is very versatile and can be suitable for the elderly with different physical capabilities. Instead of a step-up, this exercise can be done with a step forward and back on the ground. For a fun twist, the elderly can perform this exercise with music in pairs or groups!
This exercise boosts reaction coordination.
Coordination exercises can help to ease the side effects of Parkinson’s disease. However, dealing with Parkinson’s disease can be tough physically and mentally, both for a patient or a caregiver. If you are facing difficulties, a caring and experienced community for aging adults can be ideal for your loved ones.