Exercise routines in the weekly sessions at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church help those who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease keep the symptoms at bay.

Get up and get moving

Weekly Parkinson’s group uses exercise for therapy

When suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, exercise makes all the difference.

A Parkinson’s sufferer, Renice Townsend, recognized that need and last September, started up an exercise group for others who have been diagnosed with the nervous system disease.

The group currently meets every Thursday around lunchtime to practice their daily exercises, and even learn a few new ones.

Thanks to a nearly $2,000 donation from Trail’s annual Mistletoe Market, the group is looking ahead to how it can improve the weekly meeting and find space for its exercise equipment.

“Rachel Jansen is a speech therapist at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and her dad has Parkinson’s, and she also organizes the charity fundraiser, the Mistletoe Market,” said Townsend. “This was really exciting for us because it was $1960.50 and we want to establish a really good venue for the fitness program. I am currently consulting with Joanne Robbins (the physiotherapist who leads the group), and we are making plans for the future. We are so pleased to have received this gracious donation that will greatly contribute to our group.”

The weekly exercise group has about 10 members who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease and recognize the importance of daily exercise to help keep symptoms at bay.

“With Parkinson’s, we are losing dopamine which is the chemical that gets our muscles working,” said Townsend. “With Parkinson’s you can still develop new neural pathways and that makes it so important to work on exercising and stretching.”

Exercising for someone with Parkinson’s has a different goal than someone going to the gym to lose some weight.

“I remember in physical education class a million years ago, it was about seeing how many sit-ups you can do in 30 seconds,” shared Townsend. “For a person with Parkinson’s you want to do that exercise, but hold it. You want to keep the muscles lengthened. Short bursts of an exercise just doesn’t do anything. You need the long stretches and every day.”

Townsend credits her lifelong love of staying active for her high level of functionality over a decade after showing symptoms.

“I think one of the reasons I am functioning so well (13 years after showing symptoms) is that I have always loved physical activity,” she said. “Now, unfortunately, I have to work at it a bit more, but I have a really good background in that. The more I follow the daily exercise routine, the more energy I have and the better I feel throughout the day.”

The group currently meets in the basement of  St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Trail and Townsend can’t say enough about how helpful and accommodating the church staff has been for the exercise group.

“When we started in September, we had a place, but had to move and I was determined to find another place,” she said. “The Anglican Church and Father Neil Elliot have been just great. They have a wheelchair accessible basement and they have been so cooperative. I cannot speak highly enough about how great they have been.”

Exercisers are also looking for a couple of volunteers to help them out during their weekly sessions, in order to provide one-on-one attention for everyone who shows up.

The group meets every Thursday afternoon at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

For more information call Townsend at 367-7437 or Patti Leggett at 367-9258.

Just Posted

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to B.C.

Show comes to Trail on Jan. 30

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read