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People living in the Highlands encouraged to access Parkinson’s exercise programmes

By Federica Stefani

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High Life Highland is encouraging people in the Highlands who live with Parkinson's to join one of their specially-designed classes.
High Life Highland is encouraging people in the Highlands who live with Parkinson's to join one of their specially-designed classes.

High Life Highland is raising awareness of the support available in the region to mark World Parkinson’s Day today (April11).

The charity has has been providing ongoing support for participants of Parkinson’s exercise programmes for several years, working closely with NHS Highland.

Now, they are encouraging anyone affected by Parkinson’s to get involved with specially-designed classes being held at several of its leisure centres, as well as online.

Eilidh MacLean, activities development officer at High Life Highland, said: “We are keen to encourage more people living with Parkinson’s along to our classes whether they be our specific weekly Parkinson’s Exercise sessions or our Falls Prevention classes.

“Our regular participants find them extremely beneficial, and we have an excellent team of friendly and welcoming instructors.”

NHS Highland estimates that there are around 600 people in the Highland area living with Parkinson’s and there are thought to be around 13,000 across the whole of Scotland.

Parkinson’s is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world and happens when the brain cells that make dopamine start to die.

There are more than 40 different symptoms associated with Parkinson’s including a tremor, pain, issues with balance, difficulty sleeping and anxiety.

Doing exercise can help people live better with Parkinson's. As well as helping people to manage and take control of their symptoms, specially designed classes can keep people connected and allow them to share experiences.

Marshall Fraser has been attending Inverness Leisure classes for five years. He commented: “Exercise is one of the best forms of medication for me but just as important is the social side of it.”

Angus Ferguson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s only seven months ago and was keen to join his local classes in Inverness: “You get a chance to speak to people who have the same problem as you. The thing about Parkinson’s is that we all have slightly different symptoms from each other.”

Amanda McKay, Physical Activity Delivery Manager for Parkinson’s UK in Scotland, said: ““Physical activity can help people with Parkinson’s live better with some of the symptoms of the condition, improve their wellbeing and lift their mood. High Life Highland offers a fantastic range of opportunities for people with Parkinson’s to keep active, which we know are much enjoyed by those who take part. “We would encourage anyone in the region to check out what is on offer, get active and become part of a real community of support.”

HLH’s face to face Parkinson’s Exercise classes take place at the following locations:

• Averon Leisure Centre – Tuesday, 2pm - 3pm

• Aviemore Community Centre – Monday 12pm - 12.45pm

• Inverness Leisure – Monday, 1.10pm - 1.50pm and Wednesday 1.50pm -2.50pm

• Thurso Leisure Centre – Thursday, 2pm - 3pm

• Wick Assembly Rooms – Friday, 10am - 11am

For an insight into what these classes look like, a video featuring the Falls Prevention class can be viewed on the HLH Facebook page or for more information about the Parkinson’s Exercise programme contact parkinsonsexercise@highlifehighland.com, alternatively contact the leisure centres directly to book.

To mark World Parkinson’s Day, Parkinson’s UK will be sharing a new video which will premiere on the Parkinson's UK social media channels on World Parkinson's Day.

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