What’s Dopamine Got to Do with Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. *
In many ways, Parkinson’s patients are no different than anyone else. They may tend to be more stiff, less flexible and have more balance issues. Less movement leads to loss of health and function.
So what’s the solution? Exercise is THE best medicine. Like a tune up for your car, exercise helps our joints, muscles and bones perform better. Exercise leads to an increase in the body’s dopamine, a neurotransmitter super power that helps us move and feel better. Dopamine increases positive emotions like pleasure, excitement and enthusiasm. It also improves attention, mood, memory, learning, and sleep quality.
Dopamine helps get your competitive juices flowing and gives you the extra oomph – what we like to call your BRIO. Any type of exercise, either physically or mentally challenging, helps stimulate dopamine production.
10 New Ways to Stimulate Dopamine
- Take a cooking class or teach a grandchild to cook.
- Enroll in a dance or boxing class, specific for Parkinson’s.
- Play music so loud it wakes us the neighbors.
- Go for walks in the fresh air.
- Do yoga, breathing exercises or meditation.
- Soak up some warm sun.
- Take up photography or painting.
- Get a massage.
- Sing along with your favorite music LOUDLY!
- Start a stamp collection.
It doesn’t matter what you do to stimulate dopamine, just do something. Life is short so make it a journey worth living.
Model example of “Living with Parkinsons”
Baudry Therapy Center client Sandra Wright lives with Parkinson’s. We chose the word “lives with” instead of “suffers from” because Sandra is making the most of her condition. She is living life! Sandra learned firsthand what dopamine has to do with Parkinson’s when she went skating for the first time in decades. Read how Sandra checked off an item on her bucket list while doing something positive for her health >>>
Learn More About LSVT / BIG program for Parkinson’s Disease
Be an advocate for your own health and your loved ones! If you or someone you know is living with Parkinson’s and would like to get more out of life – find their BRIO again – contact us today to learn more about the LSVT/ BIG program at Baudry Therapy Center.
*(Source: Mayo Clinic)