I’m Neil, one of the Sheffield PD Warrior pioneers, and aren’t I lucky? What great timing. Barely have I had time to get used to my diagnosis of early stage Parkinson’s Disease than PD Warrior comes to Sheffield – one of the few places in the world outside its base in Australia.
What is PD Warrior?
PD Warrior is a Parkinson’s treatment based on exercise as medicine.
It originated in Australia 2012 and is now appearing in the UK as physiotherapists attend training courses to be PDW instructors.
Bhanu and Karen are the physiotherapists leading the Sheffield development. Five PDW pioneers together with their exercise buddies, are taking part initially in the carefully designed, intensive PDW 10 week exercise programme. The buddies – who may or may not be one of your nearest and dearest – play an invaluable part in keeping you motivated, telling the truth, constructively, of course, and generally helping to create a positive air.
What are the distinguishing features of the exercises?
Exercises are specific to symptoms, high effort, frequent, powerful, complex, salient and fun. A typical session consists of warm up, cool down, and 10 intensive 2 minute exercises. The exercises range from relatively familiar, such as tailored versions of a box step, to less so, such as snatching a scarf. Fun comes from whatever gets you going. Some people do enjoy exercise anyway, but a positive attitude can be helped along for instance by pretending to be James Bond, and then waddling like a penguin, all within the space of a couple of minutes. It can also be difficult to maintain a serious, stony Parkinsonian face when someone is bellowing “Ta dah!” down your ear. Laughter is great medicine.
What is the theory?
The PD Warrior programme includes both physical and cognitive activity, based on growing evidence that intensive, high-effort, complex activity can potentially slow symptom progression using neuroplasticity, the natural rewiring ability of the brain.
What has PD Warrior given me so far?
Bearing in mind these are early days and a work in progress, physically, my balance is better – walking forwards, backwards, putting on trousers while standing on one leg and so on. Mentally and generally, I have always loved the feel good buzz that comes from exercising, but now this has the added positive feeling that I am taking as much control of the situation as I can.
What happens next in Sheffield?
The aim is to build a continuing and growing programme of PD Warrior sessions, involving returning pioneers developing their specific targeted programmes, mixing and matching with new groups entering via the intensive 10 week challenge, building on the undoubted spirit and camaraderie existing amongst the pioneers, eventually establishing a mutually supportive community, as well as drawing in help from local organisations such as premises from Sheffield United Football Club!
Want to know more about PD Warrior?
Contact Hallamshire Physiotherapy clinic on 0114 2671223 and see the PD Warrior website pdwarrior.com
or get the book “The New Parkinson’s Treatment: Exercise is Medicine” by Melissa McConaghy (available on Amazon).Share