We met Jean Kirshenbaum when we started playing tennis here in Sarasota with a regular group twice a week. Jean was not as mobile as some of the players but had an excellent serve and strong ground strokes and you could tell how much she enjoyed playing the game. Jean had suffered a stoke 15 years ago but had worked hard to return to the game she loved, even if she couldn’t play at the same level she was playing at before the stroke.
Earlier this year Jean began to have problems with her gait, her balance and with freezing in place (sound familiar?) which have prevented her from playing with the group. But Jean is not giving up, she writes columns for a tennis website, and recently wrote one that discussed her current conditions and what she is doing to try and overcome them. Part of that column includes her surprise when she found out I took up tennis as part of my plan to overcome PD. She has plans for both of us as you will see when you read her column here. I am honored that she mentions me in her column and I look forward to seeing her back on the courts soon.
While we have been busy the past few weeks with visits from grand children, we have continued to play tennis as much as possible and I continue to cycle whenever I can. Yesterday I discovered a new screen on my FitBit app that shows my heart rate during exercise. This screen shot is from today’s cycling session which consisted of a 10 minute warmup and then we continued to add gear while surging back and forth between 80 rpm and 90 rpm. As you can see our coach has taken the new concept of high intensity intervals to heart and this work out kept my heart rate in the cardio zone or above for almost the entire time. What I find most interesting is, despite my thought that I wouldn’t be able to walk out to the car, I did and now, 8 hours later, I feel great and have limited PD symptoms. There certainly seems be something that works when you exercise at a high level even for a short period of time. So if you have the opportunity to cycle or box or ????, do it! Exercise is the best prescription we can follow to slow the progression of PD (I know I haven’t said that recently 😆)