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10,000 Kiwis diagnosed with Parkinson’s must get more active


Exercise NZ says many of the 10,000 New Zealanders who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s need to get more active.

Richard Beddie, chief executive of Exercise NZ, says one in every 500 Kiwis suffers from Parkinson’s and regular activity will help them. Parkinson’s New Zealand starts its annual awareness week tomorrow.

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological condition in New Zealand and Beddie says Exercise NZ has supported the training of exercise professionals to better understand the condition.

“Also as a partner of Exercise As Medicine NZ, we have helped train many exercise professionals to help those with chronic health conditions, including Parkinsons,” Beddie says.

“The health benefits of exercise have long been extolled. Heart disease treatment and prevention, cancer, and mental health are amongst the most commonly known areas to benefit from regular physical activity.

“Exercise can be cheap, relatively safe and free of side effects. It is increasingly being used to help manage other health conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

“Studies consistently reveal that people with Parkinson’s can improve in the following their strength, endurance, balance, mobility, walking ability and flexibility. Research has shown that people who exercise are less likely to develop Parkinson's.

Everyone with Parkinson's should exercise, according to the Michael J Fox Foundation. Fox, the actor, launched the foundation in 2000 after publicly disclosing his 1991 diagnosis, at aged 29, with Parkinson’s disease.

Meanwhile, scores of trainers and fitness facilities from all over New Zealand, many of whom help Kiwis with Parkinsons, are into the finals of the annual New Zealand exercise industry awards.

The winners of the ExerciseNZ event will be announced in Auckland on November 23.

The awards recognise exercise professionals and facilities for helping many of the 500,000 Kiwis stay active.

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