A number of leisure centres and gyms across Chilterns announced free membership for people with Parkinson’s from April 11.

The support campaign aims to help those living with the condition, which often causes tremor, stiffness of the body and slow movements, although symptoms can vary and there are more than 40 recorded symptoms.

Currently, there’s no cure for Parkinson’s

The free membership campaign by Everyone Active in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council, give access to gym, swim and group exercise classes and free membership for carers.

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The announcement came ahead of World Parkinson’s Day on Monday April 11, a day to raise awareness of the condition, which affects around 145,000 in the UK.

Amersham’s brand-new Chilterns Lifestyle Centre, Chalfont Leisure Centre in Gerrards Cross, Chesham Leisure Centre, Swan Pool and Leisure Centre in Buckingham and Aylesbury Aqua Vale Swimming and Fitness Centre are set to take part in the campaign.

Parkinson’s is said to be the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world.

Bucks Free Press: Brand new 25-lane pool in Chilterns Leisure Centre in Amersham. Brand new 25-lane pool in Chilterns Leisure Centre in Amersham.

Those with Parkinson’s find various activities, from walking to dance, beneficial in managing their symptoms.

Steve Salwa, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We want to encourage the whole Parkinson’s community to exercise and are confident we have an activity for all, no matter what your age, ability or fitness level.

“Being more active will help members to live well with Parkinson’s, improving their physical fitness and mental wellbeing, as well as having fun.”

Val Benn, 70, from Suffolk , was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in April 2004, and she advocated for exercise.

Her exercise routine includes up to two hours of exercise every day to manage her condition, especially to make her muscles don’t become wasted and her upper body strength stays good for her to do everyday tasks.

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She commented ahead of Parkinson’s Day: “I am delighted to see Everyone Active partner up with Parkinson’s UK to provide complimentary membership for people living with Parkinson’s and their carers.

“My condition has worsened but I wouldn’t be where I am right now without taking part in physical activity. I try to play table tennis, golf, ten pin bowling and do weights where possible.

“Doing pelvic floor exercises and kegel online has tightened up my core stomach muscles which has really helped with my bladder incontinence - a symptom of Parkinson’s.” 

Getting into the habit of regular physical activity can also make those living with Parkinson’s feel more in control, said Tom Ingram, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Parkinson’s UK.

He added: “It supports both physical and mental health and depending on what you choose, can provide social support and interaction, all of which can really help people living with Parkinson’s and those providing informal care.

“Quality of life can be enhanced and independence and confidence maintained.”