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Should a Senior with Parkinson's Eat Before a Yoga Class?

by Renee Le Verrier, Parkinson's Disease Expert
October 27, 2016

Question: Is it recommended to eat before a senior with Parkinson’s practices yoga?

Answer: Great question, and one that comes up often. The quick answer: Yes. There are some points to bear in mind, however. When scheduling meals, exercise and medication, consider:

•    Energy: Yoga practice can be invigorating at times and restful at other times. In either case, a light meal or snack helps maintain energy levels. Avoid larger meals as a full stomach triggers the body into digestion mode instead of exercise and can induce sleepiness.

•    Medications: Exercise, including yoga, can be more effective and more enjoyable when meds are “on” since movement can be more fluid. For some, certain PD meds are more effective on an empty stomach. If the timing of a dose coincides with needing to eat a snack for energy, aim for low-protein, low-fat options since proteins and fats can interfere with absorption of levodopa.

•    Hydration: Even the gentlest, most relaxing yoga can work the body. Replenish with plenty of water.

Renee Le Verrier is the co-director of the APDA's Arts & Movement Program and, in partnership with the APDA, she leads a Parkinson's Yoga Teacher Training Certificate Program. She is the author of the book, "Yoga for Movement Disorders" and its Companion DVD. She is also a certified yoga instructor and specializes in creating adaptations for people living with movement disorders.

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