Basketball a treatment for PD? Here's my research.
Expanding the Mining of Benefits; Expanding the Body of Evidence
By Gavin Mogan
Do you want to go exercise or would you rather go play?
I like exercise as much as anyone I know. But even my response to that question is immediately and adamantly “play”. So why aren’t there more opportunities for simultaneous exercise and fun?
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago. I’ve used sports over most of that time to keep Parkinson’s symptoms manageable. I’m convinced of its effectiveness, both physically and mentally.
You may be thinking, “I have Parkinson’s. How my gonna’ play sports?”
Adaptation. The benefits of an adapted, or modified, sport can be the same as non-adapted.
Remember, people with Parkinson’s are boxing! I believe we can manage dribbling, throwing, shooting, kicking, catching, or hitting a ball. Not all at the same time, of course.
You may be further thinking, “Where is the evidence that this will help me?”
Here: See Final section herein.
And there (pointing finger at you, politely). You will be the research. You’re already doing your own self-research every day. This will be similar.
Many of you love the exercise you’re doing now. Do it to your heart’s content!
But if staying consistent with an exercise regime has been difficult, if consistent but unenjoyable, or maybe you just hadn’t experimented with anything new in a long time, then there is untapped potential within you.
When fully engaged in activity we are stimulated. Activity seems to flow. Flow is a highly desirable state, although we often don’t realize that’s what we’re after or why we seek it.
For people with PD, a state of flow can be as close as we get to not having PD.
Most are aware of the benefits of high-intensity exercise for people with PD. But what if only a fraction of us are regularly meeting recommended doses?
By one estimate, as many as 60% of those with PD suffer from apathy. Among those with cognitive decline, apathy is believed to affect close to 100%.[i]
This is like handing a person with PD a fistful of dopamine agonists and a plane ticket to Vegas. When mixing known ingredients, outcomes are reasonably forecasted.
Are we all okay with so many people doomed to fail? Wouldn’t bridging this exercise gulf significantly improve countless lives? If we take the stance that exercise is medicine, shouldn’t we help patients access proper dosage?
Aren’t those of us serving the PD community obligated to provide patients reasonable means to achieve, what for most, seems like unreasonable exercise demands?
The problem is not that most cannot perform high-intensity exercise three times a week. Intensity is relative, not absolute. The problem is that most view recommendations, for various reasons, as an unreasonable goal for themselves.
Effort is greater when motives are beyond just the act itself. For example, time your friend running alone, then time your friend racing someone.
When running, lifting, pushing, kicking, swinging (not all at the same time), greater effort is likely when pain and fatigue are subordinate to outcome. More simply, I’m not thinking about fatigue when I’m intent on catching a ball.
Sports can be the gateway to the high intensity exercise that research supports as critical for slowing progression of PD. Any sport can be made high-intensity, but not any high-intensity exercise can be a sport.
I am testing interest in forming Parkinson’s programs for basketball, softball, tennis, and soccer. Limited mobility welcome. Lack of imagination will be the only obstacle to participation.
If you believe that new skills, better fitness, and the most fun you’ve had in years are all possible, then I have something you should come see.
Program Duration: Approximately six weeks
Qualifying Participants: Any persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Something similar? Let’s discuss.
Instructor: Gavin Mogan, certified personal trainer and dude with Parkinson’s.
Contact: Gavin at 972-489-5899, firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Partner: Currently seeking
Training Methodology: Training will follow current methods used by athletes within given sports. We will seek to prepare physically and mentally, develop skills, and to instill an athlete’s mindset, for the duration of the program and beyond. We will strive for optimal mindset and training methods. The exercise should take care of itself.
The Parkinson’s community is not maximizing exercise’s physical and mental benefits. Sport-related exercise, especially “open motor skill” exercise, is more engaging, dynamic, and challenging than “closed motor skill” exercise.
This program offers participants opportunity for more enjoyable forms of exercise, thereby more engagement. Evidence shows increased engagement equals increased performance. My conviction is that increased performance has a significant impact on participants’ physical and mental benefits in helping to contain symptoms of Parkinson’s.
You will be encouraged to continually challenge yourself. I aim to reward you with the most fun you’ve had in years and a level of fitness that you didn’t think you could achieve!
Isn’t it about time you got serious about battling this disease, i.e., have some fun?
A brief internet search revealed a few relevant findings.
Proposal for combining exercise, voice therapy maintenance, healthy eating, and purposeful living
· I propose that exercise programs described in the attached could be combined with voice therapy maintenance, healthy smoothies, and encouragement in living with intent/purpose.
· For example, a one-hour basketball exercise program could include 10-15 minutes of voice maintenance therapy while engaged in basketball, 30-40 minutes of basketball only, followed by 10-15 minutes of healthy smoothies and living with intent/purpose encouragement.
· Such unique exercise programs may have research study potential.
· Currently seeking participants for programs in Central Richardson.
· Contact Gavin Mogan for additional info:
The range of my symptoms daily, sometimes hourly, connects me with almost everybody on the PD spectrum.
By Gavin Mogan
I was never much of an athlete.
Then I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Perhaps nobody else suddenly considers me an athlete now.
I do. That’s all that matters.
The athlete's challenge and that of the chronically ill are highly similar - just at opposite ends of the spectrum.
If by adopting an athlete mindset I will enjoy more time with my children, continue to provide for them, and be a capable and fulfilling husband for as long as possible rather than a burden, then I am an athlete in full-training mode.
The athlete must lead an extremely disciplined life. Their body is their office.
Their profession depends upon their performance - their performance upon their training.
I have a chronic illness. Not only does my performance depend upon my training, my life does as well.
The athlete must construct their life around optimal training.
What, when, where, how, how much. They must be warriors in their competition.
I must do the same. Only I must do it with less than full health. I must do it under the distractions that come with chronic illness.
The athlete must give their body every opportunity to perform to its fullest. They must fuel it, rest it, and maintain it in the best way possible.
Equally important, the athlete must prepare, train, and control their mind. They must develop a desire to train and a desire to resist all obstacles between them and their goal.
The athlete must be undeterred by previous failure, seeing it only as opportunity for growth. The athlete cannot fear failure, else performance will be affected.
The athlete must remain calm yet explosive. Mind and body must be in harmony.
The athlete must minimize the impact of negative life events, even using to their advantage in competition, if possible.
The athlete must harness emotions and allocate them as necessary in training and performance.
The athlete must prepare for the future but remain ever-aware of presence. The athlete realizes we only have control over this moment. Life happens now.
If the athlete has a spiritual strength, all the better.
So I, too, will be an athlete.
What about when being an athlete, somewhere on Day 1, starts to become difficult? What will underpin the athlete I must be?
How does the athlete acquire and sustain so many enviable qualities that role requires?
The methods are as diverse as the athletes themselves. How will I underpin my athlete?
By doing, by action, by discovery.
By simplifying life.
By filling myself with joy and peace; love and kindness.
By resolving conflicts in principles and actions. By conquering self-doubt and need for acceptance. Through acceptance of what I cannot change.
Through the practice of conscious thought and conscientious behavior, constantly.
Through enjoying what I do and appreciating what I have.
Only then will I as an athlete have clear mind to perform to the body’s nearly unlimited potential.
The athlete mindset is more than a training tool. It is my mandate for truly living.
I like being an athlete a million times more than I liked being a chronically-ill patient.
Mindset is critical.
By Gavin Mogan
A fundamental trait of Parkinson’s is that many formerly automatic functions must now be consciously performed. We must often apply focus or intent to walking, speaking, swallowing, smiling, etc. These functions are in addition to those we were already, and still must, apply conscious thought to.
We can try to perform all these different tasks purposefully/intentionally.
Or alternatively, we can simply live life purposefully/intentionally. Trying to summons purpose, then, on an as-needed basis, becomes obsolete when we are ever-intent, hyper-present.
Intent can flow naturally through every action without having to flip an unreliable switch. I believe living with intent is even easier, more straightforward, and more effective than selectively applying intent to components of life.
The most difficult piece to a live-with-intent, engage-every-moment approach is wholly changing ingrained patterns of thought and behavior; finding the resolve to radically alter our approach to life.
I cannot plant that seed of clarity with you any more than you can with me. The road to self-discovery is reliably unique, as is the road to fulfillment.
But once revealed, we no longer must be cued to perform various tasks intently, each requiring its own motive to fuel it. Living intently requires no cues, no bargaining, no equivocation.
The two approaches are analogous to trying to stay warm by constantly sparking collections of kindling in the forest instead of embracing the perpetually shining sun of the nearby meadow.
Sparking, managing, and extinguishing flames all day is an entirely different existence than nurturing a strong, steady flame within to energize and enlighten every moment encountered.