After a young onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, Gary Boyle has resolved to up his physical activities in 2020.
Here he tells us the part Porterstown parkrun plays in helping him feel good.
It’s taken me a few years to get there, but I think I’ve finally hooked myself onto parkrun!
Up to now it’s been an occasional event that I’ve shared with my siblings, with more emphasis placed on the lovely cup of coffee afterwards. Especially in Malahide (Dublin).
But I don’t live in Malahide, I live in Clonsilla and the closest parkrun is Porterstown, less than ten minutes away, assuming you don’t get held up forever at Clonsilla railway level-crossing.
Porterstown Park is an oasis within the relentless march of Dublin 15 as it expands ever westward.
There’s a real sense of open-space in Porterstown as your gaze is taken across the Liffey Valley and off to the Wicklow Mountains in the distance. Every Saturday, and indeed most Sundays too, swarms of children, parents, runners, footballers, yoga lovers, hurlers, cricketers, and walkers converge on this treasured ground.
And as the days have begun to get noticeably longer and the mornings are starting to start earlier, you can be sure that sightings of brides and grooms will become more prevalent too.
St.Mochta’s Church, which borders the western end of Porterstown Park, sits proudly as any elegant country church would do, catching the eye and sometimes the ear – perhaps those gathered in the church have just heard ‘I do!’ Certainly, all of us in Porterstown Park will hear the church bell confirm it!
Well, sorry for rambling on there. Anyway, I’ve completed two parkruns in Porterstown but I’ve got a feeling this is going to increase significantly.
I’ve always tried to take regular exercise, and many is the time over the past 27 years that we’ve lived here, that Porterstown Park has been the venue for a good run and a good work out.
However, since September 2009, it has become much more important for me to take regular exercise. In 2009 I was diagnosed with ‘Young Onset’ Parkinson’s Disease, a deteriorating condition that we neither know where it came from nor how to cure it.
For the first few years post diagnosis I tried to ignore it. I had been running with my brother Patrick for several years and I continued to do that. However Parkinson’s Disease is a nasty little piece of work and I had to take extreme action about five years ago to get my life back on track.
And a very large part of getting things back on track for me has been a significant increase in my rate of exercise, my exercise regime. The results for me have been wonderful and I am so grateful to find myself in the best physical shape of my life (eh, deteriorating neurological condition aside, of course!).
I’m now at the point of seeing and feeling the rate of deterioration slow right down.
For 2020 I’ve resolved to increase my exercise regime on a daily basis and the results are really quite positive. I believe in a ‘multi-disciplinary’ or ‘inter-disciplinary’ approach where I try and vary my exercising every day, while taking my medication at the prescribed intervals; trying to get as much sleep as possible; and also taking care with my diet in order that I get the nutrition I need, daily.
I’m now going to include parkrun every Saturday morning in my exercise ‘dance card’! It’s a wonderful thing; the other parkrunners are wonderful to run with too, and the volunteers organising each Saturday are always so good humoured.
So what are we all waiting for?! I’ll see you on Saturday morning! This is an expression my Parkinson’s Disease can’t handle at all, at all – PD would far prefer if I stayed in my bed and didn’t exercise at all. Well, you know what? No way! I’m feeling good about this exercising; about Porterstown Park parkrun. As I say to all my PD Buddies – Hey! I’m not cured, but I am better!’
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