I love exercise because
it has so many benefits. But for some, exercise can
be especially important to keeping them on
the road to health. Just as Ed McCaskey Junior. – I’ve always been pretty
active, started with 5K’s and worked my way up
to, eventually, to
the marathon level. Afterward that’s where
satisfaction comes in after a good workout. – [Narrator] But about 10
years ago, Ed got some serious news about his health from
his doctor after complaining of limited flexibility
in his right hand. He said, “I think you may
have Parkinson’s Disease.” Had a followup session
with a movement disorder specialist who
confirmed Parkinson’s. Found out it’s causes are
unknown, it’s progressive and there is no cure. And that combination of news
was rather startling to me. – Parkinson’s Disease is when
certain cells in the brain start to degenerate and die. They’re the dopamine
producing cells so the brain, dopamine is involved
in movement. One of the most commonly
sought after consultations in the office would
be for a tremor. Then declining balance,
multiple falls, stiffness of the muscles,
lack of expression, a feeling of sadness or
apathy or depression. – [Narrator] While there’s no
cure for Parkinson’s Disease, there have been many
advancements to improve quality of life for the patients. – It’s a multidisciplinary
approach, medications to enhance the
dopamine that is lacking. Exercise is also as important
as your prescription. And you can see the
improvement, it’s remarkable. Right alongside of your
medications you should think about a good exercise
program, be guided and trained by good therapists because
you have years ahead of you. – Research has recently
shown that individuals with Parkinson’s who exercise
on a regular basis can possibly slow the
progression of their disease. – [Narrator] Ed took that to
heart and joined the class program at Northwestern
Medicine Lake Forest Health and Fitness Center. – The exercise classes are free
for those with Parkinson’s. We really want to focus
on flexibility, aerobics, strength, and resistance so
that they will experience improved gait, or walking,
improvement in balance, and just improvement in their
overall daily activities. – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
there’s a peddling for Parkinson’s class. I do weight training, running. There is no cure, but you
do have a say in how you’re gonna deal with it. – Exercise is for over two
and a half hours per week, it improves the joint stiffness,
it improves the posture, it improves the muscle weakness. – [Narrator] Those are
benefits Ed noticed as he made targeted exercise a
regular part of his week. – Parkinson’s symptoms, they
seem to be greatly reduced after a good workout. More alertness,
more flexibility, my
gait has improved. The benefits kind of carry on
for the balance of the day. – [Narrator] In addition
to the physical benefits, Ed says the program has
provided him a sense of community with others who are
also living with Parkinson’s. – There’s a comradery
among the group, it’s almost an informal support
group type of environment. – Ed is a very dedicated
individual to exercise classes. He is in the classes, he
works out regularly and he, in turn, also encourages
other participants who are in the classes with him. – [Narrator] Ed hopes to
inspire others living with Parkinson’s to start
exercising and take charge of their health. – The benefits are real, I
haven’t seen any significant decline. Find a class that’s suitable
to your level ability and get over there and
get moving and the payoff with be there, guaranteed. – It’s never too late
to start exercising. Exercise right now is the
best thing that they can do to help manage their symptoms. – The goal is to keep ahead
of the Parkinson’s Disease and by doing a good
exercise routine you have nothing to lose and everything
is on the positive side. Do something about
your circumstances. – I just love that, thank
you so much for sharing your story, Ed.