FA challenges balance and coordination. Physio and exercise are important and interrelated – exercise is about strength, physio is about control. You need both.
Physio (especially neuro physio) trains and retrains your brain’s ability to send, receive and act on signals from around your body. FA challenges your heart and lungs and regular exercise helps protect them.
Separately, but connected with both, a key principle we need to consider always is that prevention is better than cure. “First of all, avoid a fall”.
You should ask your neurologist to refer you to a physiotherapist who specialises in treatment of neurological cases (stroke, FA etc). They’ll recommend a programme of activities that you should do regularly to maintain and even rebuild control, balance etc.
Remember, both physio and exercise is important in different ways – physio is about control, exercise is about strength. You need both.
In developing or evaluating an exercise programme, it’s ideal to involve an exercise physiologist. They’re like a fitness trainer who understands neurolological conditions. They’ll tell you areas to focus on in your regular exercise programme and can either suggest exercise (swimming etc.) or if you go to a gym, can tell you things that you can do there that’ll be beneficial.
To quote from Dr Mark Payne at the 2012 FARA scientific symposium at USF (click here for more detail or to watch the full video): “The importance of regular exercise to maintain cardiovascular heart health can’t be overstated”.
Because his practice is based at my gym, I’ve met with Matthew Parrish of Redlands Exercise Physiology and I recommend strongly getting at least one of your EPC appointments (see chronic disease management plan) put towards exercise physiology.