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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Could it really be this simple?

13 January 2022

As regular readers will know, I've had issues with tremors that were diagnosed as Parkinson's a few years back.

On receipt of the diagnosis I figured I had two options.

I could accept that I was going to become a quivering mess with a rapidly declining cognitive ability...

Or I could do everything within my power to mitigate the progress of the decline and put up the fight of my life.

I chose the latter -- because the former was something nobody wants to contemplate as their fate.

Since then, some interesting things have happened.

I started taking exercise seriously and lost almost 20Kg of largely unnecessary body fat.

I started engaging in an informal but regular programme of exercise.

Although mostly resistance training with a set of dumbells I bought over 20 years ago as an accessory for the back of the wardrobe, there has also been a significantly increased amount of walking involved (here is a recent example).

After much research I also altered my diet, dispensing with most processed sugary foods in favour of high-protein foods with a smattering of good fats.

Breakfast is bran flakes with greek yogurt, lunch is a handful of walnuts and cheese and my mid-afternoon meal (the last of the day) usually consists of chicken, eggs or fish (but not fresh fish... I can't afford such luxuries). Yes, there are also some veges thrown in for good measure -- broccoli, beans or such.

I guess all this is called taking ownership of a problem and doing your best to manage it.

The results have been most impressive.

My tremors, although still there and sometimes still quite disabling when it comes to doing some accurate soldering or flying an RC model aircraft, they have not worsened and on some days, are almost completely absent.

The weakness I was experiencing as a symptom of my condition has been replaced by a new strength that allows me to do as many as 40 push-ups without a pause and I'm getting much closer to reaching the goal of 10 pull-ups on the bar at the local park.

The quality of my sleep, although still fractured and limited in duration, has also improved to the point where I am far less fatigued during the day, although I still tend to rise well before the sun, even in mid-summer.

It is scary to think where I'd be now if I'd just blindly accepted my fate; as so many in my position seem to do.

So why am I writing on this subject today?

Well it's because I spotted this story on the Science Daily website. It is yet another study confirming that brain health is definitely linked to exercise and general physical condition -- something I worked out a while back.

I know that "exercise" is generally recommended for those with Parkinson's symptoms but I wonder if these exercise programmes are just too light to have best effect?

My exercising isn't "intensive" but it is regular and I do work hard at it. I'd love to see some kind of study that compares the intensiveness and frequency of exercise to the effects on neurological health.

In the meantime, I'll just keep plugging away at what I do. Right now I feel as if I could live to be 100 and enjoy every day of it.

Life is what you make it and, as I've discovered, making the effort can make a huge difference.

What about you?

As the years pass by are you lifting your exercise levels to try and compensate for the effects of time on your aging body and mind?

Or do you have your own secrets to enjoying life?

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