Exercise guidelines for people with Parkinson’s

  • Aerobic or cardiovascular activity. This can include any exercise that increases your heart rate, such as walking, hiking, dancing, swimming or riding a bicycle. Aim for 2½ hours a week.
  • Flexibility and stretching. Certain muscles feel tight and stiff with Parkinson’s. These are the primary muscles that flex your arms, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Stretching can reduce the impact of Parkinson’s-related stiffness that affects your body’s movement. Aim for 2–3 times a week.
  • Strength training. Stronger muscles reduce the amount of energy you spend on everyday movements, resulting in less fatigue throughout the day as well as greater stamina. Aim for 2–3 times a week.
  • Neuromotor: It is important to include exercises that challenge your balance and coordination. T’ai chi, yoga and Pilates are good choices.
  • Complex exercises: Dancing, boxing and circuit training are examples of exercises that engage both the mind and the balance system and bring multiple benefits.
  • Intensity: Gradually increase the intensity of your exercise to bring maximum benefits to both your body and your brain. If you can chat with a friend while exercising, you are probably not working hard enough. If you break a sweat, you probably are!

Source: Excerpted from Davis Phinney Foundation website, “Living Well, Exercise: What Types of Exercises Are Good for Parkinson’s?,” https://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/living-well/exercise/.

Credit: Debra Vertanen

Remember, always get your doctor’s clearance before starting

PRE=Progressive Resistive Exercise


  • Perform your first set of exercises i.e. bicep curls for as many reps as you can using best form. You should feel some burn. 
  • Wait 3 minutes 
  • Perform your second set at a rate of 70 to 80% of the first.
  • Ex: 20 reps w 3# set 1
  • Then, 14 to 16 reps for set 2.
  • Generally, when 30 reps becomes too easy, increase the resistance.

Cardiac Exertion

  • Set heart rate goal at 220-age x 70 or 80%.
  • Remember, you may be a bit breathless, but you should be able to hold a conversation.


Stretch slowly and fully to the point of pull not pain. Adding a deep breath at the end of a fully lengthened stretch slows you, calms you and lengthens the pull a tad more.