Buy An E-Bike - Improve Your Parkinson’s?
Guest Blog by McKenna Sokol
Believe it or not, riding a bike may be one of the best natural treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD) you can find. As many who suffer from the disease know, the combination drug Carbidopa-Levodopa, a widely prescribed treatment for PD, only works for so long and often requires higher doses as time goes on. Additionally, the drug frequently causes various unpleasant side effects, including extremely decreased appetite, REM sleep disorder, the list goes on and on. While I would never recommend to stop taking the drug (after all, it’s the best thing we have right now in terms of medicinal treatment), I would absolutely recommend adding a bicycling regimen to your routine.
Parkinson’s, which affects motor coordination and movement anywhere from mildly to severely depending on the stage of the disease, is degenerative and can cause those who live with it to lose their ability to walk and can even cause dementia in the late stages. So, you may wonder, if someone can’t even walk, how are they supposed to ride a bike? The discovery of this natural treatment additive was by a doctor in the Netherlands who dealt with PD patients for decades, thinking he’d seen it all. One of his patients, a 58-year-old man who’d suffered from Parkinson’s for over 10 years, could barely take a step without freezing up or falling down. He could, however, ride a bike with ease, he claimed. To his and the entire office’s surprise, after a bit of help getting onto the bike, the man rode without a care in the world - to the unsuspecting bypasser, the man had nothing wrong with him at all.
As this form of therapy began getting discovered elsewhere, studies were formed and trials begun. While bicycling in no way “cures” the disease, it has been shown to significantly improve tremors for up to a few hours at a time, and even potentially holds off some of the degenerative qualities of the disease.
Reading stories like this online can absolutely give you hope, but it is an entirely different thing to watch it happen first hand. My dad, a Vietnam War veteran, suffers from Parkinson’s as a result of his time in the Marines. Although he has been “lucky” with his diagnosis and it hasn’t progressed to a severe point yet, he still goes to bed exhausted every night after a day’s worth of work at a physical job and a day’s worth of fighting with his own body to try and control his tremors. When I heard about Crazy Lenny’s E-bikes, armed with the knowledge of these bicycle-based therapies, I knew I had to take him in. About an hour after we stepped in the door, my dad had purchased a bike, and was bursting at the seams to get it home to Ohio to ride it every day - I haven’t seen him so excited about anything physical in years.
Now, every single day (weather permitting, of course), my dad waits for his leg to start giving him hell and jumps onto his bike. After a quick 20-30 minute ride, he hops off and enjoys a few hours of peace - finally. What was so appealing about an e-bike over a regular bike, which would absolutely produce the same results, was that my dad’s fierce independence could be retained no questions asked. He would never have to worry that he would ride too far and be too tired to get home, or he couldn’t go a certain route because of a steep hill. He can feel 100% free on his e-bike, and when he comes back to reality, he can stay free, if only for a couple of hours.