Exercise Classes

Wisconsin Parkinson’s Exercise Classes


This program targets the physical challenges of PD by focusing on the four principles if intensity, complexity, difficulty and specificity in a “Move Big” exercise format of treadmill, floor exercises and stretching. www.neurofitnetworks.org


LSVT BIG! is based on the Lee Silverman therapies, which emphasize exaggeration of physical movement to improve motor skills. The classes are taught by physical therapists trained in LSVT Big! To find a physical therapist in your area, visit www.lsvtglobal.com. (LA CROSSE YMCA, Eau Claire Sacred Heart Hospital.)

UW Health Fitness Center Parkinson Exercise Program

A treadmill based exercise program for improvement in gait and balance with extension–type floor exercises to improve posture and counter-act forward flexure.

La Crosse Movement Disorders Exercise Program

A UW La Crosse Physical Therapy program featuring individual and group-based activities designed to promote fitness, wellness, and prevention of falls. Participants will work with PT students to develop and implement a physical activity program designed to meet their goals.

See all the general exercise classes in Wisconsin for people with Parkinson’s

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Parkinson’s ZUMBA

The Zumba® program fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will improve flexibility and balance. Exercises and simple dance steps require no dance experience, just a desire to have fun.

Open to participants with early to moderate stage Parkinson’s. Class requires participants to be independently mobile and have good balance. Participants are asked to get clearance from their doctor to take the course. Even though this is a low impact class, participants need to be aware that there is a risk of falls.


A gentle yoga class focusing on stretch and simple yoga poses enhancing their philosophy of total mind- body awareness and inner peace. No experience needed.

Parkinson’s Boxing Class- Ford’s Gym

Learn the fundamentals of non-combat boxing including stance, jabs, calisthenics and use of a punching bag. This class is open to people with early stage PD. No skills needed other than good balance and mobility.

Learn to Row for Parkinson’s

Learn the fundamentals of rowing from a safe, land-based environment. Most of class time will be spent on ergometers, or rowing machines, and the focus will be on balance, technique and aerobic exercise. It’s a new way to stretch your muscles. Participants will also learn about rowing equipment including boats, oars, seats and tanks. There will be an optional tank and on-the-water session the last week of class.

See all the rowing, boxing, and other exercise classes in Wisconsin for people with Parkinson’s

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Why Is Exercise Important?

Curt Campbell, PT

For people with Parkinson disease (PD), exercise is not just recommended, it’s critical. Three of the four cardinal symptoms of PD, slowness (bradykinesia), stiffness, and poor balance, can be slowed or reversed with regular exercise. All of the secondary symptoms of PD can be treated or eliminated with exercise: poor posture, impaired coordination, lack of arm swing, cramping and sexual dysfunction. Nearly all of the physical symptoms and challenges of PD improve with exercise, and absolutely all symptoms worsen with inactivity.

Exercise has the following benefits related to Parkinson’s:

  • Exercise reduces the risk of developing the disease in the first place (neuroprotection).
  • Exercise increases brain health including the growth of new cells in some parts of the brain (neurogenesis).
  • Exercise encourages the brain to relearn behaviors lost to disease or injury (neuroplasticity). Physical therapists and exercise instructors use certain physical movements to encourage the brain to “re-wire” itself producing bigger, faster, more efficient movement.

Additional Notes

Would you like to see these fitness programs in your city? The APDA- Wisconsin Chapter can help with planning and implementation, instructor training, and marketing. Contact the chapter.

The APDA-WI Chapter offers exercise grants to individuals to help offset the cost of exercise classes.  Contact the chapter at (608) 345-7938 or apdawi@apdaparkinson.org to learn more.

WI Chapter APDA fundraising events support these Fitness Programs. The following fundraisers (and their volunteers) have made our dance and exercise classes possible and we thank them:

Parkinson’s Half Marathon & 5K, APDA A Night of Hops & Vines, and Mary’s Wish Golf Outing.

Also thank you to the generous individuals who have made donations to the WI Chapter APDA Dance & Exercise Fund. If you would like to donate to the exercise program, click here.

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