When first diagnosed, all Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients should have a consultation with a physical therapist to define the appropriate exercise program tailored to them. This will also establish a baseline of your current physical status.
Ideally, all patients with PD should have a good fitness program as well as specific exercises to maintain good posture and balance as well as improve symmetry in flexibility and strength. Then, one may benefit from a consultation with a physical therapist when signs and symptoms increase the risk for falling or limit comfortable community mobility and confidence. The therapist will also work on improving gait with practice using visual and auditory cues, as well as without those cues.
As the disease progresses, periodic re-evaluations are helpful to assure your exercise program is having the maximum benefit. A program of individualized exercises addressing posture, balance and gait has been shown to be beneficial in decreasing the risk of falling. In some cases, where balance or musculoskeletal problems develop, supervised outpatient treatments a few times per week may be helpful for a few weeks.
In addition to physical exercise, it is important for everyone to maintain a high level of learning-based exercise activities to improve the ability to do multiple tasks simultaneously and safely without falling. The combination of learning-based memory training, aerobic exercise, over ground gait practice and integrative, engaging activities in the community are essential to positive health and well being despite aging or neurodegenerative disease.