Staying Motivated to Exercise

Here we are showing off our medals (and our Beat Parkinson’s TShirts) from this year’s Mary-thon.  What is a Mary-thon you might ask? The Mary-thon is a 26 week exercise program developed by Mary Balagna, vice president of the National ProjectLinus organization.

The idea of the Mary-thon is you commit to exercise at least 30 minutes 5 days a week for 26 weeks.  You don’t have to run or walk for 30 minutes you just need to complete 30 minutes of exercise.

We like to get out and walk for our exercise and I keep track of our time on a simple spreadsheet showing our time for the days of the week for 26 weeks.  Since we usually walk the same path through the park next door, when my times started getting slower this year, it was yet another indicator that something was amiss. On the plus side the times have been going down since I started  the medication which indicates it is helping reduce the rigidity and slowness.

Mara and I both volunteer for the local Project Linus Chapter. Project Linus is a volunteer organization with chapters across the US that give handmade blankets and afghans to children who are seriously ill or otherwise traumatized. When you sign up for the Mary-thon, a portion of your registration fee goes to Project Linus. In addition you get a work book with all types of exercise routines that will meet the 30 minute time frame and fit your ability level. Mary sends weekly emails with encouraging words to help keep you on track and if  you complete the Mary-thon you receive a medal. .

Many studies have been completed that show that exercise is essential for People with Parkinson’s (PwP), in fact last week at the Third World Parkinson’s Congress  held in Montreal, Canada one of the bloggers in attendance said that many of the sessions mention exercise as essential to optimizing daily life with Parkinson’s.  But getting motivated to exercise regularly is not easy even if you don’t have Parkinson’s so consider joining next years Mary-thon.  

Of course 26 weeks is only half the year so you can sign up for the Ultra Mary-thon and do another 26 weeks to finish out the year.  If you are looking for an exercise program which is specifically designed for PwP, check out the new program available from the Davis Phinney Foundation.  The program includes a free DVD with PwP particpants showing you how to do the exercises.  A booklet is also available with the exercise information in written form.  You can request a free DVD at the Davis Phinney Foundation website by clicking here.  We have been trying to do the stretching exercises most mornings and both of us have noticed some improvement in flexibility especially our necks. I look forward to trying the exercises when we are unable to get out for out daily walk.

We just returned from two nice days at our favorite Smokey Mountain destination, The Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, TN.  The plan was to visit the Great Smokey National Park, but congress apparently thought it would be better to shut down the government, including clinical trials, instead. But we had a great relaxing time and two wonderful meals at the lodge.  Next weekend we head up to the retreat at Kripalu Resort in Massachusetts followed by a chance to meet with some friends from New Hampshire.  Should be a great experience!

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