Diet and exercise are an important part of healthy living for Parkinson’s patients. Talk to your physician about a diet and exercise plan that is right and safe for you.

While there is no proven specific diet to help treat Parkinson’s, doctors say eating regular balanced meals is part of a healthy diet. It’s important to time your meals around your medication schedule, so digestion doesn’t slow or stop medication from getting into your bloodstream. This is because certain medications may be more or less effective depending on when and what you eat. Talk with your doctor about your specific medications and a diet plan that is right for you.

There are also other dietary considerations such as staying hydrated and increasing fiber intake that could help with common PD symptoms. Don’t change your diet without talking to your doctor and always follow his or her instructions on when to take your medication.

There is no evidence that exercise affects the progression of Parkinson’s disease, but regular exercise or physical therapy may help people with Parkinson’s with their strength, mobility, flexibility and balance. Start by consulting with your doctor. If you’re adding exercise to your routine, it may be the right time to expand your treatment team to include a physical therapist who can help get you started on a safe and beneficial exercise plan, tailored to your ability.

One thing to remember is that exercise isn’t just about running and jumping — exercise is about staying active in any way that works for you. It is important to find something you enjoy and to start a routine that you can maintain. Some examples of exercises that you could consider include walking, biking, dancing, gardening, yoga, tai chi, or sitting and standing exercises. Talk to your doctor about these options to make sure he/she knows what measures you are taking and that they are safe.

Healthy living is also about staying active in other areas of life that are important to you. If you enjoyed activities such as artistic outlets, involvement in community events, or volunteering before your diagnosis, speak with your doctor about how you can continue with those interests. Massage, meditation and other techniques designed to relieve tension and stress can be helpful for some people. Acupressure, acupuncture and vitamin supplements are other complementary approaches that you can consider. Talk to your doctor to see if any of these regimens could be right for you.

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