Exercise helps slow down the progression of the debilitating disease
Pickleball bridges the gap between generations and social classes as a universally joyful and healthy activity. The sense of community the sport offers is exciting. As it turns out, picking up a paddle does wonders for those struggling with life’s unfortunate challenges, too.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that affects one’s ability to control their movements, causing shaking, stiffness, and balance issues. A progressive disease, its symptoms start gradually and become more frequent over time. As some are finding out, though, pickleball can be a fun and practical counter to the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms.
Exercise is important for us all but especially those living with Parkinson’s disease. Studies show that athletic activity slows down the disease’s progression, helping maintain balance and coordination. That’s where pickleball comes in.
Alyson Blanks, an exercise psychologist from Parkinson’s NSW, says pickleball is a “great sport” for those with Parkinson’s.
“It combines all the recommended modes of exercise and makes it fun,” Blanks told ABC News. “Playing pickleball helps you keep mobile and active, improves hand-eye coordination, delays the need for medication, and slows Parkinson’s symptom progression. All of these benefits lead to an improved quality of life.”
For those struggling, getting on the court is a welcomed distraction that’s equal parts fun and important. Picking up a paddle can help with shaking, plus there’s an undeniable sense of pleasure that comes with hitting a great shot or winning a game.
As one pickleball player with Parkinson’s explained in a letter for the Aiken Standard, “with this disease, you have to be active and keep yourself going. In an attempt to slow the progression of this debilitating disease, I began playing pickleball several days a week. I soon found myself laughing and having so much fun on the courts that I would often forget about my symptoms while playing.
Eight years later, I am still enjoying pickleball several days a week and continue to reap its benefits while keeping my symptoms at bay.
Pickleball has changed my life.”
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