What is Parkinsonism and Parkinson’s?
Parkinsonism is an umbrella term used to cover a range of different conditions that share similar symptoms to Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease is a condition where parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. This is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is key in regulating the movement of the body, with the reduction of dopamine responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

We don’t currently know why people get Parkinson’s. Current research suggests it could a be a combination of age, genetic and environmental factors that cause the dopamine-producing nerve cells to die.

The 3 main types of Parkinsonism –
Idiopathic Parkinson:
Most people with Parkinsonism have idiopathic Parkinson’s, idiopathic means the cause is unknown.

Vascular Parkinsonism:
Vascular Parkinsonism affects people with restricted blood supply to the brain, this can be people who have had a mild stroke, and may develop a form of Parkinsonism.

Drug-Induced Parkinsonism:
Some drugs can cause Parkinsonism. Drug-induced Parkinsonism only affects a small number of people, and most will recover within months – and often within days or weeks – of stopping the drug that’s causing it.

Parkinson’s can affect everyone slightly differently; therefore, the management of Parkinson’s disease will differ from person to person, one thing that might work for one person won’t work for another.

What impact exercise have on this disease?
Staying physically active is critical as you age, this is made even more important with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Being active with Parkinson’s can help improve your physical and mental well-being as well as your strength, balance, and coordination.

Incorporating aerobic activity will increase your heart rate and improve muscle tone. Working on your coordination and balance can help reduce your risk of falls. Including strengthening exercises can help you perform activities of daily living. All of these will help you live a long and fulfilled life.

How can power-assisted exercise help?
Here at the I Can Therapy Centre we have a range of power-assisted exercise machines. The machines work by generating both the initial and ongoing movement to help kick-start the movement, the participant is then encouraged to work with the machine which will help them achieve the physiological response in terms of aerobic demand, muscle strength and mobility.

Each machine is a whole-body exercise and once you have been on all 9 machines, you will have worked every major muscle group in your body. The beauty of our power-assisted exercise machines is as long as we can safely get you onto the machine and you can reach the pedals, we will be able to get you moving and help you increase your physical activity levels.

Customer Testimonials
We spoke to several customers who are living with Parkinson’s, some who have been recently diagnosed and some who have had it for years. We asked them what impact the I Can Therapy Centre has had on their daily life?

We spoke to Jean; Jean has been living with Parkinson’s for many years, Jean explained “I really enjoy coming to the I Can Therapy Centre, I really notice the difference in my mobility and stiffness if I am unable to come to the centre for a few weeks, I especially love the social side of the centre, meeting lots of different people.”

We also spoke to Ian; Ian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2017 and has been using the I Can Therapy Centre for the past 18 months. “It has made me feel a lot better about my Parkinsons, it allows me to stay physically active and it has helped to slow down the decline if not stopping it over the past 6 months. I have noticed a big difference in my mobility, I used to need a walking frame when walking around the house whereas now I can do it without any aid.”

Maureen has been living with Parkinson’s for the past 12 years and has recently come back to using the service after a break due to the Covid pandemic. “Due to a recent hospital stay, I was unable to walk, I really wanted to get moving again to increase my strength and hopefully start to walk again. I really enjoy my visits to the I Can Therapy Centre, it doesn’t feel like you are coming to a hospital or a medical facility, you are out having a laugh with other like-minded people.”

Bobby has been using the I Can Therapy Centre for over 5 years, “The I Can Therapy Centre has been a godsend, it keeps me fit, so I am able to keep walking and dancing.”