As part of our stay here in Florida, we became temporary members at a local Gym that provides PwP specific classes along with all the other amenities of a large gym. One of the classes they offer is Pedaling with Parkinson’s, a twice a week spin class specificly designed for PwP’s. The objective of the session is to cycle for 40 minutes, keeping your heart rate between 60% – 80% of your MHR (maximum heart rate), and keeping the cadence (RPM) between 80 and 90 RPM per minute.
In order to take the class, I had an hour long evaluation that covered, among many things, medical conditions other than PD, what PD symptoms I had, and how my balance was – almost made the 30 seconds standing on one foot! Then, after taking my resting heart rate and blood pressure, I spent 20 minutes on the spin bike, upping the resistance until I couldn’t maintain 80 RPM for a minute, which provided my MHR.
I managed to pass the tests so last Friday I joined a full class of 20+ PwP’s for my first forced march on a bike! After adjusting the bike, putting on the heart rate monitor and doing a light warm up spin (you know in the 60 – 80 RPM range) the instructor cranked up the music and off we went, upping the resistance while maintaining the cadence at 80 – 90 RPM for what seemed to be forever. OK maybe it wasn’t forever but it was a solid 40 minute workout, with brief slow downs for hydration before the next song came on. All of our data was captured on a computer which then projected our heart rate and the percent of MHR up on a screen in front of the room. In addition, the bike was equipped with a device showing our RPM, heart rate and % of MHR.
This program is based on research by Jay Alberts, PhD, at the Cleveland Clinic and a demonstration study by the Neuro Challenge Foundation here in Sarasota which have yielded promising preliminary scientific and anecdotal results. The studies have indicated that doing this twice a week helps create new pathways (neuroplasticity) in the brain and participants have reported a reduction in tremors, better balance and gait, regained sense of smell, and increased energy. I have been interested in doing this for some time and I’m glad I get the opportunity to participate while here as they also offer this class at the YMCA in Knoxville if I want to continue when I get home.
The Neuro Challenge Foundation also sponsors the three dance for PD classes we are attending while here along with many other activities for PwP and Care Partners. They provide a Parkinson Disease Resource Guide and offer a one on one Care Advisor Program to help PD Patients find the best treatment and support options available. An excellent resource for PwP in the Sarasota area and one of the reasons we like to come to this area. Speaking of dance classes, our Let Your Yoga Dance for PD class made the local paper, you can view the article here. We have a good time in all three classes and it certainly helps keep me flexible.
Oh, did I mention we caught up with Dale, Monica and grand daughters Angelina and Ariana in San Francisco? OK, maybe we were at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios and took advantage of the set. We had a great time with them in Disney World and here at the beach.
We continue to enjoy our beach time in between dance classes and time at the gym and I can’t believe our time here is half over already!
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