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NP-C Corner: Exercise as medicine

Updated: Mar 18

There is a big misconception that the point of exercise is to lose weight. This is only one of many benefits exercises can have for our body and mind!


In this post, I want to follow past ANPDF NP-C conference speakers who argue that exercise is medicine.


Exercise is defined as the repetitive, structured, or planned movement for health benefits.


It can include lots of different types of movements and doesn’t have to be confined to a gym.


It can also be used as a form of active therapy. In fact, it is one of the primary therapies used to manage NP-C symptoms and could potentially help slow down the progression of the condition.


The evidence for these benefits is hard to measure in groups of NP-C patients due to the small number of people diagnosed.


Instead, we have seen many benefits when researching dementia or Parkinson’s disease. For example, a study of people living with Parkinson's Disease found that exercise helped to delay the onset of symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.


Studies also show that being active can improve cognitive symptoms (dementia), stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and improve mental health and physical strength.


It is important not to think of exercise as a cure for NP-C, but instead to see it as a way to improve and extend that person’s quality of life & ability to function.


It can also be widely beneficial for carers of people living with dementia, as research found it to reduce perceived caregiver burden and improve mental wellbeing.


But what exercise to do?


NDIS funding can be used to see health professionals such as exercise physiologists (exercise specialists who can use active therapy to treat various health conditions) or personal trainers.


These health professionals can create and tailor a program to the person living with NP-C. Everyone can do something, and the right professional will make a program that suits the person to maximise their physical health.


This may include a combination of aerobic, strength, mobility and balance and/or coordination training.


It is about making the most of what the person has, rather than focusing on what they don’t.



And it can be fun! For example, the fantastic Victorian Dance for Parkinson’s & Wellbeing group invites everyone to come and use dance as a form of active therapy.


People of all abilities can utilise exercise for its benefits, you just need to find the type that suits you or them the best!


This message is important to share as everyone has the right to be physically functioning to the best of their ability. Now, I'm off for a walk!


Stay supported and supportive,


Ellie

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