'Pedaling for Parkinson's' advocate visits Grand Haven

Before speaking at a physical therapy clinic in Grand Haven Township, Nan Little was at the Tri-Cities Family YMCA on Monday afternoon to speak about the program, "Pedaling for Parkinson's.' Little, a retired anthropologist from Seattle, Wash., told department directors at the YMCA about the cycling program, which is intended to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. She gave them an idea of what she would tell an audience of physical therapists, as well as people who suffer from the degenerative disorder of the brain.
Jordan Travis
Apr 19, 2011

Tri-Cities YMCA Executive Director Dean Buntley watched Little’s presentation because, he said, he is interested in bringing a “Pedaling for Parkinson’s” program to the Grand Haven YMCA.

Little was invited to Grand Haven by Jan White, a teacher at Lake Hills Elementary School who has Parkinson’s disease. White has seen the benefits of cycling firsthand, she said.

“My husband and I have a tandem bike,” White said. “When I stopped riding, my symptoms got worse.”

After being diagnosed with the disease in 2008, Little found out about the work of Dr. Jay Alberts in Cleveland, Ohio. He had found that by pairing Parkinson’s patients with experienced bicyclists on tandem bikes, their symptoms — which include tremors and lack of mobility — were reduced. The results were seen in patients who pedaled at 80-90 revolutions per minute for an extended length of time, several times a week.

To read more of this story, see today’s print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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