In this blog post, we’ll cover the most common reasons your significant other is avoiding exercise and three potential solutions to this problem.
If you’re reading this, it means you care deeply about your loved one and understand that movement is one of the most important tools people with Parkinson’s have in their arsenal.
Incorporating physical activity can slow the disease’s progression, control its symptoms, build brain health AND decrease anxiety.
Despite these benefits, people with Parkinson’s may be reluctant to work out.
Why They Don’t Want To Exercise
- They Lack the Motivation to Start
The first way to address a lack of motivation is to model the type of behavior yourself. Fear of missing out is real and if your loved one sees you taking steps to being active, they will be more inclined to follow suit. Nagging is not an effective way to encourage them and you will likely meet more resistance. If you believe physical activity has benefits, you have to walk the walk yourself. Literally.
Another way to deal with a lack of motivation is to introduce a unique reward system. Make sure that your reward doesn’t undo the good you just did , i.e. no chocolate fudge bars as a reward for using the recumbent bike. Tie the action to the reward so they are inextricably linked going forward.
One example might be allowing yourself to listen to an audiobook for as many minutes as you engaged in exercise. This is an easy to implement system and before you know it, your loved one will associate the action with the reward.
- They Don’t Enjoy It
Perhaps they have never enjoyed “exercise” and never went to the gym prior to their Parkinson’s diagnosis. Maybe the problem is they’re viewing exercise through a narrow lens of what people do while inside a gym, or playing a sport, or sweating to DVDs and online videos.
Using your knowledge of activities they enjoyed in the past, show them how they can tap into those today – even with PD!
One example is boxing. If your loved one enjoyed this activity before Parkinson’s, they can still engage in Fit-boxing post diagnosis.
Ideas of other low impact activities include yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and Spin for Parkinson’s. Again, it helps if they have a friend or loved one to help ease into a new activity. Try a class with them to show them you’re supportive.
- They’re self conscious of how they’ll look doing it
Exercise is supposed to up our dopamine levels, right? But how can we benefit from it if we feel self conscious because of involuntary movements? Will people think we’re drunk or otherwise impaired?
The benefits of exercise, building and maintaining strength, flexibility, balance, and cognitive acuity far outweigh other people’s opinions of you. Besides, most of the time when we think people are looking at us, they’re actually wrapped up in themselves – or their smartphones!
But we understand the hesitation. Looking forward to exercising can happen when you find the “right” environment. Parkinson’s Pointe staff can make class recommendations and referrals to address your concerns.
An ever present concern about maintaining one’s balance is something we’re acutely aware of. Our instructors are trained and knowledgeable about how to avoid trips and falls.
Parkinson’s Pointe classes are available in person or online and some are offered in either format. Subscribe to our youtube channel to watch on demand.
Why not begin by taking a class from home and once you feel more confident, transition to an in person class? Benefits of attending class in real life include being able to ask questions of the trainer, meeting other people with Parkinson’s and develop the kind of connection that will have you wanting to return for cardio AND community! When meeting people face to face, there is a sense of accountability created and maybe even some gentle ribbing in store if you’re late or miss a class.
Our personal trainers have created a supportive, comfortable and welcoming environment. After a brief orientation, you can begin as soon as you’re ready.
Check out our class offerings and instructor bios and join us!