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Q: Why is Parkinson's common in Saudi Arabia?
A: Because they have the sheikhs!

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Exercise - both physical and mental - is good for everyone, including people with Parkinson's! Check out the classes and other opportunities we offer in collaboration with a wide range of providers such as Age UK and English National Ballet.

Opportunities for exercise, therapy and learning

Exercise guidance from Parkinson's UK

Exercise guidance from Parkinson's UK

Dance for Parkinson's (ballet class)

Dance for Parkinson's (ballet class)

Exercise and physiotherapy

Exercise and physiotherapy

Voice and singing classes

Voice and singing classes

Intensive physiotherapy in Italy

Intensive physiotherapy in Italy

Mindfulness for people with Parkinson's

Mindfulness for people with Parkinson's

Exercise guidance from Parkinson's UK

The most important message from Parkinson's UK is:
exercise is good for PwP - get out there and do as much as you can!

Our national body Parkinson's UK has recently updated its guidelines on exercise for people with Parkinson's (PwP).

There's a clear and informative web page for PwP, with animations and a video.

You may also find it interesting to look at their 2-page framework document, which is aimed at health professionals but is easy to understand.

Dance for Parkinson's

For many of our members, a highlight of the week is their participation in the Dance for Parkinson's classes supported by Oxford City Council and led by a team from English National Ballet.

Dance for Parkinson's Dance for Parkinson's

Branch members taking part in Dance for Parkinson's classes

The classes have featured on BBC national news. They also appear in the wonderful half-hour documentary Parkinson's: The Funny Side, devised and presented by Branch member Paul Mayhew-Archer, which is permanently available on BBC iPlayer at this link.

Two short videos (one minute each) created for English National Ballet and starring Oxford Branch members are available here and here. There is also a 7-minute video describing the project in more depth.

If you are interested in joining the classes, please visit Oxford City Council's information page.

Exercise classes and physiotherapy

Recent research has shown that exercise seems to protect the dopamine producing nerve cells that are lost in Parkinson's, helping them work better and survive for longer.

Free local classes: Big, Bold and Balance

Big, Bold and Balance is a physiotherapy programme designed for people with Parkinson's and delivered by Age UK's Generation Games service. Weekly classes run at a number of venues:

Town Time Venue
Abingdon Tuesday, 10.15am-11.15am Preston Road Community Centre, OX14 5NR
Minster Lovell Tuesday, 11.30am-12.30pm St Kenelm's Hall, OX29 0SE
Didcot Wednesday, 10.30am-11.30am
Wednesday, 12pm-1pm
All Saints Community Hall, OX11 7ER
Banbury Thursday, 12pm-1pm Methodist Church Hall, OX16 5RZ
Oxford Friday, 10.30am-11.30am
Followed by a voice class
at 11.45am-12.45pm
Botley WI Hall, OX2 0LT

Physiotherapy in Italy

Several of our members have attended the one-week intensive course at the European Parkinson Therapy Centre in northern Italy, with encouraging results. To find more you can visit the Centre's own website, and read the report in our Autumn 2016 newsletter by a group of Branch members who attended a course there together.

The Branch can now offer grants for up to 20 people to attend, making it more affordable. This report, from two of our Committee members who did a course at the centre in 2015, includes details of how to apply for a grant using the application form which you can download here. Please feel free to discuss it with the Chair or Treasurer (details on our committee page) before making any arrangements.

Voice classes

We have a voice class every Friday at 11.45 for an hour at the W I Hall in Botley (there's a map on our contact page). About 80% of PwP have some sort of voice changes at some time and these classes offer exercises in a fun way to help keep our voices healthy. One member has reported that his voice had been somewhat hesitant and by coming to the classes this has stopped. Certainly it is valuable to join this and other classes to halt the onset of voice changes in addition to sharing time with others.

For more details of these voice classes please contact the Chair, whose contact details are on our committee page.

Mindfulness for People with Parkinson's

There will be an Introduction to Mindfulness for PwPs workshop. Please contact Azizë Stirling on 01865 790168 or azize@onetel.com for more details.

Azizë writes:

Research is showing that stress is seen to have a significant role in neuro-degeneration and depression in Parkinson's disease. Some studies find that non-motor symptoms like depression, anxiety, emotional dysregulation, cognitive impairment, and apathy, can have a far greater impact on disease progression and health related quality of life than motor symptoms.

It can sometimes be hard to recognise the stress in our lives, as in today's world it is part of the air we breathe. Mindfulness can teach people how recognise stress. A programme in mindfulness can give us the time we need to step outside the lives we lead - time for just being. Time for learning new life skills and consolidating old ones. Time to develop a less reactive way of being, and to develop a kinder and wiser way of relating to what life throws at us. It starts from the premise that we all experience distress and discomfort and all have the capacity for joy and well-being, even in the midst of challenge and difficulty.

Learn more about mindfulness

Here is a link to an article written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the person credited with starting the secular mindfulness movement, on the event of the All Party Parliamentary Committee's report Mindful Nation on the policy implications of mindfulness. You can find the original report here.