Sunday 11th April is World Parkinson’s Day 2021 and for the past year, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic High Life Highland (HLH) has provided ongoing support for participants of Parkinson’s exercise programmes across the Highlands. Before the pandemic HLH had up to 60 people affected by Parkinson’s Disease taking part in exercise classes every week.
When the pandemic started HLH sought to keep in touch with all participants, to begin with it was through personal contact by phone and email. Specialist exercise instructors helped people with Parkinson’s by providing specifically tailored information such as how to exercise safely at home, as well as how to access other resources on topics like eating and keeping well.
Working closely with colleagues in Parkinson’s UK and NHS Highland in recent weeks, HLH started to pilot the delivery of live interactive online classes. This means that people who are affected by Parkinson’s Disease are able to take part in classes with others from across Highlands. All classes are led live online by a specialist instructor.
Linda Bailey, Personal Trainer & Specialist Exercise Instructor for HLH said: ” Providing on-line exercise classes for people who live with Parkinson’s is a new concept for instructors and participants alike and I feel so privileged to have been given this opportunity to deliver on-line Parkinson’s Fitness Classes on behalf of High Life Highland.”
Andrew Grant, Volunteer Supporter and Participant of the online classes said: “The classes have been very beneficial for improving my mobility and balance. The instructor works closely with individuals which allows them to correct any problems and tailor the exercises to their ability. These virtual exercise groups helped build up my confidence after an extremely difficult year, and have helped prepare me for future face to face classes.”
It is now well understood that doing exercise can slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. Exercise can help people affected by Parkinson’s to manage physical symptoms and other symptoms such as sleep problems, fatigue, mood and mental health. Exercise can be as important as medication to help people with Parkinson’s to take control and manage their symptoms. Keeping connected is important too as some people have found the impact of the coronavirus pandemic difficult and staying in touch has been vital.
Amanda Mckay Parkinson’s Active Project Support Officer, Parkinson’s UK (Scotland)
said: “It’s great to see this initiative take off in Highland. The last year has been challenging for people with Parkinson’s, and we know that people have really missed exercising together. During the pandemic, mental and physical health has deteriorated for many people with the condition. Offering exercise online will have huge health and social benefits, and we have worked with the NHS and exercise instructors to make sure that the classes will meet the needs of people with Parkinson’s.”
If you’d like more information about the Parkinson’s Exercise programme you can contact HLH: [email protected].