Local Parkinson’s group keeps active over summer.

Members of a local Parkinson’s physiotherapy group, which meets only in term-time, have been continuing their treatment over the summer holidays with help from Petroc.

Through the developing partnership between physiotherapists at Northern Devon Health Care Trust and Petroc, participants took part in seven weeks of summer activities run by Petroc’s sport and fitness team.

It’s really important for people to keep moving when they have got Parkinson’s, to delay progression,” explained Claire Harris, Specialist Physiotherapist in Rehabilitation. “The goal is to keep as active as possible for as long as possible. These sessions give them a bit of continuity so they can be as fit as they were when they finished the term.”

The Barnstaple and Torridge Parkinson’s groups met at Petroc’s North Devon campus and took part in range of sports and activities, including basketball, tennis, badminton, Nordic walking, volleyball, and fitness circuits.

It’s been years since many of the members had played sport and some of them thought that due to limitations from the disease, coupled with the ageing process, they would struggle with physical activity. But they thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, with many of the participants trying some sports for the first time.

One group member is Dave Shaer, who said: “From a health point of view it’s good. It’s a social activity as well as a physical exercise. It’s given us something different.”

Marian Cooper agreed: “Being outside and in the fresh air – it’s really good for you. Trying it in a group has been really nice, too. I have really enjoyed it.”

Jane Sharkey, Fitness programme manager at Petroc, set up the seven-week scheme.

She said: “It was great to reach out to a different type of client group and it was amazing to see the group having so much fun through the medium of sport and fitness.”

If you want to find out more about sport and fitness at Petroc, visit www.petroc.ac.uk.

For more details about local Parkinson’s groups, please email jjones53@btinernet.com (Bideford) or lynda.smith49@yahoo.co.uk (Barnstaple).

Photo, from left to right: Robert Sleep, Clive Jones, Claire Harris, Jane Leaper, Dave Shaer, Peter Gleave, Terry Hill, Jane Sharkey, Marian Cooper, Jackie Whittear, Gordon Smith.

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