News, Press - 15th May 2018
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parkrun and Parkinson’s

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There may not seem to be a relationship between parkrun and Parkinson’s, but I can assure you there is.

 

And while there isn’t yet a cure for Parkinson’s, there are three important things that people with Parkinson’s can do, to help treat the symptoms and maintain a healthier life.

 

The first is to take the medication to replace the brain chemicals lost because of the disease. Second, maintain a positive attitude along with as little stress as possible. Thirdly, and most importantly, get as much exercise as the body can take, without overdoing it. Overall fitness and good muscle tone can help minimise some of the abnormal movements associated with Parkinson’s disease.

 

I am a 71-year-old man who was diagnosed with the disease in November of 2015. It took a couple of weeks to get over the shock but I then set my mind to fighting this disease. Having just finished treatment for depression, I was in a good state of mind and had started walking for 30 minutes every day. After a while, I changed to walking as fast as I could. Soon, I become bored with walking and started jogging every day. From there, the natural progression is to start parkrunning.

 

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My home parkrun is in Devonport, Tasmania. I found that I couldn’t initially jog 5km non-stop, but I was determined that one day I would. And I did.

 

Now my PB is 29:50 – not bad for an old guy with Parkinson’s. We ‘Parkies’ do not say we suffer from the disease, we say we live with it.

 

parkrun has become the exercise I feel is the best for me. I have now done 26, but not all in Tasmania and I make sure I wear my Parkinson’s t-shirt each week to promote awareness. My motto is ‘I have Parkinson’s, it does not have me’.

 

I am very grateful for parkrun, as it gives me the challenge I need and helps me to maintain my exercise. I have also participated at the Burnie Ten 10km run and was honoured to carry the Commonwealth Games Baton in February. There is too much life still to be lived to let this stop me.

 

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Rob Harper

Devonport parkrunner

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