Pedaling For Parkinson's

Pedaling For Parkinson's

I am so excited to blog today about the Pedaling For Parkinson's Program, recently started at the local Whatcom YMCA. For those who haven't heard of Pedaling For Parkinsons (PFP), I'm going to take this opportunity to give you more information about the program and also tell you where you can find additional info, should you want to learn more or participate and find a program near you. 

In 2003, Dr. Jay Alberts, a neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic, was biking across Iowa in RAGBRAI with several friends and one of their wives who has PD. The couple started out biking on a tandem, which proved to be a disaster. So, Dr. Alberts took his friends' place at the front of the tandem bike, cycling at his usual cadence of 80-90 revolutions per minute.  After several days, his friends' wife stated she no longer felt as if she had PD and had noticed a significant improvement in her handwriting which had been affected by Parkinson's. At that moment, Dr. Alberts decided to research why, after intense cycling, this woman had a significant decrease in her PD symptoms.

In his research, he found that biking for 1 hour a day (10 minutes warm up, 40 minutes cycling at cadence, and 10 minutes cool down), 3 times per week at a cadence of 80-90 revolutions per minute can significantly decrease a PD patient's symptoms by 35%!  Hence, the PFP Program was founded and is hosted at YMCA's and other facilities throughout the country. 

When I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011, I had the privilege of meeting Nan Little and John Carlin, both with PD and active participants in the PFP Program. Both have seen and felt the results of participating in this program consistently. They told me stories of how this exercise regime helped them to manage their symptoms and keep them active in their lives. 

After learning about this program, I contacted the local YMCA to see if they had a program, such as this because so many know nothing of this valuable form of exercise that can give hope to so many who are diagnosed with PD and feel so hopeless. 

I spoke with Tammy Bennett, Healthy Living Director at the YMCA who stated at that time they did not have a program. However, Tammy pursued finding out more about it and as of May 1, 2014 there is officially a PFP at the local YMCA! I encourage you or if someone you know has Parkinson's to look into participating in this program. PFP is typically done on a stationary or tandem bike, inside or outside, with a goal of achieving a consistent 80-90 revolutions per minute. Have no fear though if you are unable to start at this rate! The goal is to start and get moving. As you increase your strength and endurance, you will also be able to increase the cadence to a sustainable level of the 80-90rpms. I guarantee that you will see improvements! Exercise is so good for you, so get moving! If for some reason you are having difficulty getting on the bike or to comfortably cycle for that period of time, physical therapy may be able to help you so that you can begin to participate in the exercise program. 

I hope this information is helpful and if you have any questions or want to learn more information, please see the links below (also located in the Links and Resources section) or feel free to contact me at:

Have a wonderful, active and fun day!


Important Links:

Pedaling For Parkinsons:

Local Pedaling For Parkinson's Program located at the Whatcom YMCA:

Information specifically about the Whatcom PFP Program:

A great article about RAGBRAI and PFP: