Patients with chronic illnesses share testimonies of the healing power of exercise

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – When it comes to managing Parkinson’s Disease, Bon Secours St. Francis Neurologist Kathleen Woschkalup says exercise is key.

“Something that has been shown to decrease the progression of the disease is exercise,” she says. “Use it or lose it.”

82-year-old Jim Griffith is living proof. A Marine Corps, he’s dedicated to attending Bon Secours St. Francis’s Parkinson’s exercise class twice a week.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 10 years ago and says the class keeps his symptoms at bay.

“You see the results,” he says. “Some days you don’t feel like doing anything, not one thing, but if you go and do it, you’ll feel better after it’s over,”

Classes focus on improving overall mobility and strengthening swallowing muscles.

“We’ve seen a lot in terms of their overall capacity for movement, bigger more amplified, definitely,” said … the more they do, the better they are,” Bon Secours St. Francis Exercise Specialist Jessy Limbaugh said.

Yoga is also helping cancer survivors like Tecora Prince, who suffers from anxiety connected to the disease.

“The anxiety that it may come back… you wake up thinking is this going to be the day? But when you come into yoga it totally relaxes you, takes you into another realm. You’re just thankful,” said breast cancer survivor Tecora Prince.

Yoga instructor Suzanne Spitzer even took part in a health study that found that yoga improves the physical and mental state of cancer patients. She designed a class with those benefits in mind.

“If someone’s a bit depressed, we lie down on a bolster,” said instructor Suzanne Seltzer. “It opens up the chest and brings more life into the body.”

As a regular attendee, Prince says she’s seen the healing powers of yoga firsthand.

“I’m flexible! I can move!” she laughed after finishing a class. “This has been life-changing for me.”

According to the National Institute of Health, exercise can greatly help people with arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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