Dr. Jeff Livingston - Training with Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. Jeff Livingston, a retired fetal-medicine doctor, talks with Mike Giardina at the 2022 CrossFit Games about using CrossFit as a way to manage his Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Livingston has had Parkinson’s for 20 years and has been doing CrossFit for the last decade.

Dr. Livingston describes Parkinson’s disease as a horrible disease with a combination of both physical and non-physical components, meaning that it not only affects movement but it also affects mental health. According to Dr. Livingston, the types of exercises that are most effective are those that can be cycled for many reps and those that stimulate a large portion of the nervous system. Parkinson’s Foundation describes key components that an exercise program should include — cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, and agility — which are all part of CrossFit’s 10 general physical skills.

Dr. Livingston explains that CrossFit provides primary movement benefits in a very functional way. There are some barriers that will have to be knocked down. People with Parkinson’s disease can be very self-conscious about their movement, and it can be hard to get them in the gym. But once they’re in, explains Dr. Livingston, really good things can happen. The CrossFit community, he adds, provides a lot of secondary benefits, such as reductions in isolation, depression, and anxiety. Dr. Livingston works out twice a day, once at an affiliate and once with his parents, who are 83 and 84 years old. CrossFit is for everyone, he explains — it just needs to be scaled appropriately.

CrossFit - (https://www.crossfit.com/)
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