How 2% of Your Day Could Save Your Life: LSVT© BIG for Parkinson's
Let’s be realistic. Not everyone likes to exercise, and not everyone is motivated to exercise. All the same, we know that exercise is good for all of us. Sometimes when I am reluctant to exercise I tell myself, “alright, its only two-percent, just get it done.” What do I mean? See, forty minutes of your day is only two percent. In twenty-four hours there are 1,440 minutes, so forty minutes is actually a very small fraction of that day.
Okay, what about sleep? Let’s say you want to count only the waking hours. Imagine you are one of the lucky folks who gets eight, or even nine hours of sleep a day. A person who sleeps nine hours in a day has fifteen waking hours, or 900 minutes. Forty into 900 is still only four percent.
If you’re like me and love to keep up with the latest research regarding Parkinson’s Disease (PD) then you already know that high-effort, high-amplitude, aerobic exercise is the gold-standard for getting results. The LSVT© BIG is one such program, performed by a certified BIG physical or occupational therapist, that incorporates this type of exercise to see improvements in gait speed, step length, balance, trunk rotation, and even quality of life. The research out there suggests that not only do these exercise help current disability, but they have a neuroprotective component, meaning that the program can protect the brain in such a way as to delay the intensity and onset of motor symptoms in PD.
I myself am a LSVT BIG© therapist and I have become so passionate about the results in the amazing people I work with. I have even timed how long it takes to perform the exercises and guess what? It only takes (on average) twenty minutes to perform the LSVT© BIG exercises. Twenty minutes, twice a day, is only two percent of your day! Isn’t that a lot less daunting?
So now you may be asking yourself, how can LSVT© BIG save my life? I tell you, it can save your life figuratively and it can save your life, literally! It can save your life in that it can bring you hope, and improved control of your movements, support, and a sense of community. It can save your life realistically because it can reduce falls. As many as one out of five falls can cause a serious injury including a head injury which means that falls can be deadly.
LSVT BIG© is a program that, if you have a diagnosis of PD, you will qualify for. I have not yet seen it denied by insurance, so it would be fair to assume that it would be covered by yours. Do not attempt the exercises without a certified BIG therapist, please, as its important to do these exercise correctly, and if balance is an issue, safely. If there is not one in your area you can also look for a PWR! Therapist that is also trained in PD.
There are even therapists, life myself, that will come to your home, to perform BIG there. We bill your outpatient benefits so you don’t have to be in home-health to get it. Home visits are another great way to stay dedicated to the program because it removes the barrier of travel time and transportation (you also get one-on-one attention, no distractions).
So, my take home message here is: yes, it requires exercise, yes, there will be days you don’t want to do it, but exercising for just two percent of your day could be the best gift you give yourself in twenty-four hours.
Alexander BH, Rivara FP, Wolf ME. The cost and frequency of hospitalization for fall–related injuries in older adults. American Journal of Public Health 1992;82(7):1020–3.
Ebersbach, G, Ebersbach, A, Edler, D, Kaufhold, O, Kushru, M, Kupsch, A, and Wiesel, J. Ebersbach, G, Ebersbach, A, Edler, D, Kaufhold, O, Kushru, M, Kupsch, A, and Wiesel, J. Movement Disorders 2010; 25(12): 1902-1908. .Movement Disorders 2010; 25(12): 1902-1908.Comparing Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease—The Berlin LSVT BIG Study
Sterling DA, O’Connor JA, Bonadies J. Geriatric falls: injury severity is high and disproportionate to mechanism. Journal of Trauma–Injury, Infection and Critical Care 2001;50(1):116–9
Typical results of someone before and after 4 weeks of BIG therapy.