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Agility and Parkinson’s: The Transformation of Julie’s Mother


She used to go to the YMCA to ride the stationary bike just because she liked how it made her body feel. She liked to stroll down to the end of the road on a beautiful summer night because it was peaceful and made her appreciate where she lived. She loved her children but resented the fact that she couldn’t even get out of the chair to go to the bathroom let alone down the stairs to get her Sunday New York Times without asking for their help.

Like so many other people with severe obesity issues and joint pain and conditions like frailty from aging, Julie’s Mom went from being a self sufficient, mobile adult to slowly deteriorating into a prisoner in her own home, trapped by her body. She had been a person who thrived on the energy from activity. It was becoming increasing difficult to not be angry at life.

They purchased the Theracycle and put it on her deck, outside in the southern California air. The seat held her body in place. The straps on her feet secured her legs. The smart motor began to guide the motion of her body that hadn’t moved freely in such a long time.

She never would be the same young woman that could move easily without thought but eventually she regained some of the agility that she lost.  She would often spend part of her day with her newspaper on her back deck, feeling her legs move in a circular motion strengthening the muscles. It was a feeling she didn’t think she would ever have again. Not the same as young but not like a prisoner any more.