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Core Strengthening Exercises for Parkinson’s Disease – Part 4 of 4

core-strengthening-exercises-for-parkinsons-disease-part-4-of-4

Core Strengthening Exercises for Parkinson’s Disease – Part 4 of 4

Written by Dr. Sarah King, PT, DPT

On this fourth and final day of the Parkinson’s Core Strength Exercise Mini-Series, we’re working on getting all 35+ muscles of your core working in sync.

Why is this important? Injuries and accidents happen when your body can’t effectively manage your everyday tasks. Walking, squatting, lifting, stooping, bending and carrying require excellent coordination of your abdominals, lower back muscles, hips, pelvic floor and deep core muscles.

Today’s exercises will arm you with a few basic moves you can use to build this skill of core coordination.

Perform these exercises four to five days per week for best results.

If you’d like to download the exercises in PDF form, they are available for free download here.

CORE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES FOR PARKINSON’S – PART 4 OF 4

Day 4 Focus: Core Coordination

Does kneeling hurt your knees? Try putting a towel under them for additional support.

Exercise 1 – Cat Cow

Cat Cow - Davis Phinney Foundation

STARTING POSITION: On hands and knees.

  1. Line up your knees underneath and slightly wider than your hips. Press your palms into the floor, flattening your fingers against the floor and straightening your elbows.
  2. Inhale and let your chest and belly drop toward the floor. Lift your gaze. This is “Cow”.
  3. Exhale and pull your belly button up. Arch your back and tuck your chin toward your chest. Curl your tailbone under. This is “Cat”.

Repeat for 10-12 breath cycles, inhaling into “cow”, exhaling into “cat”.

Exercise 2 – Fire Hydrant

Fire Hydrant - Davis Phinney Foundation

STARTING POSITION: On hands and knees.

  1. Line up your knees underneath and slightly wider than your hips. Press your palms into the floor, flattening your fingers against the floor and straightening your elbows.
  2. Pull your belly button in toward your spine. Keep your knee at 90 degrees while you raise it up and out to the side (similar to a dog relieving themselves on a fire hydrant). Keep your elbows straight, gaze down between your hands.

Repeat 15 times.
Rest and repeat for a second round.
Switch to the other side.

SIDE VIEW:

Fire Hydrant Side View - Davis Phinney Foundation

Exercise 3 – Knee Drops

Knee Drops - Davis Phinney Foundation

STARTING POSITION: Lying flat on your back on the mat.

  1. Perform a Pelvic Tilt from Day 2 of the series. Maintaining your core activation, bend your knees to 90 degrees with your knees stacked over your hips. Keep your arms wide, palms pressing down into the floor.
  2. Exhale as you slowly drop your knees to the left, bringing them to hover above the floor but not touch.
  3. Inhale and use your core muscles to bring your knees back to the starting position.
  4. Exhale as you slowly drop your knees to the right, bringing them to hover above the floor but not touch.

Repeat 10-15 times per side.
Perform two rounds.

Exercise 4 – Dead Bug

Dead Bug - Davis Phinney Foundation

STARTING POSITION: Lying flat on your back on the mat.

  1. Perform a Pelvic Tilt from Day 2 of the series. Maintaining your core activation, bend your knees to 90 degrees with your knees stacked over your hips. Reach both hands toward the ceiling so they’re parallel with your thighs.
  2. Straighten and lower your left leg toward the floor as you also lower your right arm toward the floor above you. Keep your non-moving leg and arm as still as possible.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Straighten and lower your right leg toward the floor as you also lower your left arm toward the floor above you. Keep your non-moving leg and arm as still as possible.

Repeat 10-15 times per side.
Perform two rounds.

Bad Form Alert!

Dead Bug Bad Form - Davis Phinney Foundation

Beware of letting your lower back come off the floor during Exercise #4 (as seen above). Keep your belly button pulled in and your low back pressing into the mat at all times.

Looking for More Exercises for Parkinson’s?

To take your core strengthening program to the next level, book an evaluation with a Parkinson’s physical therapist who can help identify your specific needs and tailor a core strengthening program unique to you. You can also download the Davis Phinney Foundation’s Exercise Essentials or check out Invigorate’s online Parkinson’s exercise program,

DISCLAIMER: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your physical therapist and healthcare team to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

About Dr. Sarah King, PT, DPT

Dr. Sarah King, PT, DPT - Davis Phinney FoundationSarah is a passionate Parkinson’s advocate who founded Invigorate Physical Therapy & Wellness, an online wellness practice 100% specialized in Parkinson’s disease, to help her clients get out of overwhelm and into action by connecting them with the tools and support they need to thrive over the course of their Parkinson’s journey. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband (and favorite human), Matt.

Download the PDFs from this Parkinson’s Core Strength Exercise Mini-Series for free here.

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