There is new hope for those diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease (PD). This hope was discovered quite by accident. Dr. Jay Alberts, a biomedical engineer with the esteemed Cleveland Clinic, is an avid cyclist. On two separate occasions, he partnered with someone who had PD for a long ride using a tandem bike. In each instance, the Person with Parkinson’s (PwP), saw significant improvements in their symptoms after the ride. His curiosity piqued, Dr. Alberts did further studies which showed that there was a 35% decrease in PD symptoms when a specific protocol was followed.
The improvements were in:
· Gait and balance
· Tremors and rigidity
· Energy and stamina
· Cognitive functioning and more....
Dr. Alberts’ research found that rapid leg movements are the key to reducing PD symptoms. The combination of "forcing" or assisting patients to move their legs faster than they would on their own was key. The rider follows a specific exercise regime on either a solo stationary bike or a stationary tandem exercise bicycle with a co-rider ("captain") helping maintain the required pedaling speed, intensity, and duration.
It is important to note that this exercise regime is not a cure, but provides the PwP a significant reduction in their symptoms.
The Commons of Evergreen is excited to be able to partner with the "Pedaling For Parkinson's" program and bring it to the Greater Holland/Zeeland community. Thanks to a generous donation and the help of Cross Country Cycle, PwP now have the opportunity to fight back against their disease.
For more information on the program, how to get started, and/or how to volunteer to become a “captain”, please contact Karen Draeger, Fitness Director at The Commons of Evergreen.