My Y Story: Doris and Pedaling For Parkinson's

Last updated: November 8, 2023, at 10:34 a.m. PT

Originally published: August 15, 2017, at 1:21 p.m. PT


During my five-year journey with Parkinson’s, I’ve learned that movement is the most important of the various approaches to managing this condition.  Doctors tell you to exercise but not why it’s important, or what to do. The Y offers two classes that have been a great support in being more active: Pedaling for Parkinson’s and Bigger, Faster, Stronger.


When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in late 2011, I recalled seeing the Pedaling for Parkinson’s flyer in the elevator and decided to join the group. It has taken some time for me to get my speed and heart rate up, but I have finally broken that barrier and am benefiting even more by pedaling “in the zone.”  The diversity of other class participants is an added bonus; we have become a mini-support group and feel free to share our thoughts, medication experiences, feelings, and other information on an informal basis. I don’t know anyone else with Parkinson’s, so their support, along with the Y staff, has been extremely helpful.


A few years later, I began attending the Bigger, Faster, Stronger class, which combines challenging strength-building, coordination, and balance movements.  This class is so beneficial, not just for Parkinson’s people, but for anyone with a movement disorder, or even just aging.   Better movement helps with everything – confidence, stress – I just feel so much better with exercise.


The Y classes offer both the structure and support to help me keep moving and therefore manage my Parkinson’s.  Yes, I could be cycling and exercising at home (and I do), but I find it too easy to do a half-hearted workout or skip it altogether, leading to an increase in symptoms.  Committing to classes helps keep me honest and in community with classmates.  The instructors take an interest not only in teaching us but also in doing research and sharing info and events that might be helpful.  I’m grateful to have the Y as a valuable resource as I work toward maintaining optimal health while managing a chronic condition.   


To find out more about the Y's Pedaling for Parkinson's program, email