KEEP MOVING: Physikal exercise physiologist Rick Hoefnagels, in Hervey Bay, is promoting exercise to help manage Parkinson's Disease.
KEEP MOVING: Physikal exercise physiologist Rick Hoefnagels, in Hervey Bay, is promoting exercise to help manage Parkinson's Disease. Jessica Lamb

Physiologist using fitness to fight Parkinson's

ONE Bay exercise physiologist is combating the degenerative effects of Parkinson's disease within the community.

Last month, Physikal Physiotherapy's Rick Hoefnagels presented the benefits of being active to a Parkinson support group.

Parkinson's Disease is a degenerative movement disorder of the brain and, while it has no cure, research points to more than two hours of cardio per week helps to delay the condition.

Mr Hoefnagels said partnering aerobic exercise with a tailored program to assist with motor skills deficit was ideal.

"The 150-180 minutes per week might look like three one-hour walks with friends over the week or bike rides or a swim," he said.

"We don't know how to fix the disease but we do know how to manage it quite well.

"Really good types of exercises are dance classes, tai chi or resistance training."

Mr Hoefnagels said in the initial stages of diagnosis it was essential for patients to have the right attitude.

"In the first five years, two thirds of patients see motor and cognitive decline which might be slowed down if they have the right care plan to move forward," he said.

"I know the know the number of people suffering Parkinson's exceeds number of people seeking treatment for it."

Jaimie de Salis, who was the carer for her husband Barry for many years, agreed saying she had witnessed the positive effects of exercise first hand.

"The biggest problem with some people is actually getting them motivated which is related to the fact the area of the brain which governs motivation is affected by Parkinson's disease," she said.

"Some people will go to an exercise class and they might keep it up for a few weeks but they need to follow through at home to keep improvement level up where it needs to be."