Join our exercise classes.

Have fun while you fight back against Parkinson's disease.
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Videos showing benefits of our exercise program

People with Parkinson's disease can function much better than previously realized.
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Learn to cope with Parkinson's disease, thrive in spite of it

Learn from my experiences as both a doctor and a patient with Parkinson's disease.
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I am a medical doctor, a patient with Parkinson's disease, and a leader of exercise classes for people with Parkinson's disease.

In 1997, I was 40 years old when my doctors told me that I had Parkinson's disease. I was afraid that I might be severely disabled before my children grew up.

I am grateful that my Parkinson's disease has progressed slowly and my mission is to try to help other people slow the progression of their Parkinson's disease.

Possible reasons why my Parkinson's disease has progressed slowly:

  • Good luck: I probably have a mild form of Parkinson's disease
  • Regular physical acivity enables me to maintain good function even though the Parkinson's disease has progressed
  • Taking enough medicine enables me to do challenging exercises
  • Medicine plus exercise might explain slow progression of the disease
  • A healthy diet likely enhances benefits of exercise and medicines

My methods of exercising and playing are quite different from how most people with Parkinson's disease play and exercise. For example, I learned to juggle 5 years before I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and I continued juggling because I expected that practicing fast movements would help me delay how fast Parkinson's disease caused me to move slower.

Summary of medicines that I have taken to treat Parkinson's disease: ropinerole since 1997, added carbidopa/levedopa in 2005, added Azilect in 2012. Current meds: carbidopa/levodopa 25/100 6 to 7 tablets/day, ropinerole 2 mg 5 to 6 tablets/day, Azilect 1 mg in morning, Carbidopa/levodopa 25/100 slow-release 2 tablets at bedtime. Carbidopa/levedopa dosage increased slightly on days I ski.

The exercise program almost certainly explains why I have been able to maintain good physical function in spite of the disease (videos). I am especially happy and especially surprised that I still can ski reasonably well on advanced and expert runs (ski videos).

In August 2010, I began leading exercise classes for people with Parkinson's disease. Most participants have gained substantial benefits from the classes (videos of exercise class participants).

It is time to challenge conventional expectations.

In addition to my personal experiences, there is increasing scientific evidence that people with Parkinson's disease and can help ourselves far more than previously was realized. We do not need to wait for miracle treatments that researchers promise are just around the bend. It is time to challenge conventional expectations about what Parkinson's disease is supposed to do to us.

 

Services provided

Exercise training: classes, individual training

Counseling patients and families on how to cope with the many challenges of Parkinson's disease, and how to progress toward thriving in spite of these challenges

Public speaking: to patients, health care professionals, and students

 

For doctors and other health care professionals:

A letter to doctors and other health care professionals about how I can supplement your work in caring for patients with Parkinson's disease

 

 

Photos & Videos

Basic balance exercises

Moderately difficult balance exercises

Difficult balance exercises

Forced-speed exercises

Boxing speed bag

Soccer

Juggling

Games with juggling balls

Improve walking gait

Improved running gait

Alpine skiing, including moguls and slalom

Advice from my doctors

"Be obstinate in fighting Parkinson's disease but be less obstinate and more cooperative with your doctors." [Read why my doctor said this to me.]

Exercise is something you have to do for yourself. No one else can exercise for you and no pills can do for you what exercise does for you. There is no such thing as an exercise pill.

Advice about fighting Parkinson's disease:

The best defense against Parkinson's disease is a good offense

 

About David Blatt

About my medical career