Parkinson’s UK is a national charity driving better care, treatments and quality of life to individuals living with Parkinson’s. It achieves this in three key ways. Firstly it provides expert information to thousands of people affected by Parkinson’s through its support and information services. The charity also funds research and engages and empowers those affected by the condition to become actively involved through its growing Research Support Network. Providing vital support is another key strand of the work. Each year Parkinson’s UK connects thousands of people with Parkinson’s with others living with the condition through its peer support service and networks of local groups, self-management groups and also its online forums.
At a recent Parkinson’s Group meeting, several members got talking about exercise. They were all well-aware of the evidence that exercise may be able to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s – something that no medication can currently do. However, they all said that they found it much harder to stay active when wet, windy or cold weather prevented them from getting out for their usual walks.
David mentioned some simple devices that he had rigged up at home using his engineering skills. None of the other people in the group have David’s engineering skills, and someone suggested that they could possibly source similar exercise equipment from shopping channels, or online. However, most of the equipment on the market is aimed at bodybuilding or body-shaping; and is not designed to be used by people with conditions like Parkinson’s. It can also be expensive.
David and his friends have a range of needs that are different from mainstream exercise machine users. In some cases, their needs are very specific to a particular limb or body part, and others want a piece of equipment that covers more general exercise. Some are unable to stand without falling. What they all have in common is the recognition that given Parkinson’s is a progressive condition, any equipment should be useable for a number of years and be adaptable to their changing circumstances.
How can David, and his friends with Parkinson’s, access affordable equipment for use indoors, to maximise the benefit of regular exercise?