Editors’ Note: This article was originally seen in the 2015 Fall-Winter edition of the Balanced Body COREterly e-newsletter.
There has been increasing scientific evidence to show that exercise can be of benefit for people with Parkinson’s, with regimes that involve complex motor sequencing (Keus et al 2014), the process by which movements are broken down into separate components and practiced in order to internalise the pattern (Di Lorenzo 2011). Anecdotal evidence also supports the use of posture-rich regimes such as Pilates (Parkinson’s UK 2013). Pilates instructors are updating their qualifications and specialising in rehabilitation, including Parkinson’s, as this exciting evidence emerges (Hudson 2013).
Over the last few years we have seen a number of clients with Parkinson’s in our studio who have made Pilates a part of their life. They report greater strength and flexibility, increased mobility and function, and most importantly they feel happier and more in control of their condition. We use the Reformer, Trapeze and CoreAlign along with matwork to offer tailor-made programmes for the client’s individual needs as well as addressing difficulties commonly seen with Parkinson’s. These clients are invited to have regular neuro-physiotherapy assessments to check progress and utilise validated physiotherapy outcome measures to monitor changes in balance, function and physical capacity. All our instructors are affiliated to Alan Herdman and are highly trained in offering Pilates for rehabilitation.
This article briefly reviews Parkinson’s and discusses the potential role of Pilates in the management of this condition, finishing with a few exercises that we have found particularly effective.