Indoor cycling gives Parkinson’s patients hope in Myrtle Beach


Pedaling a bicycle may seem like a simple task, but it could change the life of someone living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a breakdown of the nerve cells in the brain. In time, the disease affects muscles throughout the body, leading to stiffness and slowing of movement.

A recent study done by the Cleveland Clinic showed a 35% reduction in symptoms just by pedaling a bicycle at 80-90 revolutions per minute.

“Exercise is like medicine. It just makes you feel better,” said Deanne Vinson, health and wellness director at Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA.

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Pedaling for Parkinson’s coming to Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach in June. Photo: Sharon Tutrone

Beginning in June, the Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach will offer a Pedaling for Parkinson’s class aimed to help those living with the disease.

This is not like a typical spinning class. It is slower paced, and trained professionals are on hand watching every move.

“We’ll have trained nurses on staff, they will walk around and support the individuals on the bike and make sure they are working within their range,” said Vinson. “The goal is to have the individuals complete a continuous steady type movement with a slow progression of intensity.”

Pedaling on a bike can do more than just reduce the symptoms of the disease, it can also boost morale.

“It helps with mobility and aerobic capacity, so if they are going up and down the stairs, they don’t have to stop because they are winded,” said Tommy Smith, an exercise physiologist at Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA. “Pedaling a bike helps in all aspects of their life.”

Many people come to Myrtle Beach to retire, so Vinson understands the importance of bringing a program like this to the YMCA.

“We have a lot of retirees here, a lot of those retirees as they age start experiencing some of these chronic diseases,” said Vinson. “It’s something that is going to be so beneficial not only for the YMCA but for the population of Myrtle Beach knowing that the Y has programs like this.”

To take part in the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program, the patient must be between the ages of 30-75 years and diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

The Pedaling for Parkinson’s program is free for the first eight weeks and then a membership at the YMCA is required.

For more information visit www.pedalingforparkinsons.com or http://www.coastalcarolinaymca.org/clairechapinepps.

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