Interview with
Petra Fibrichova
PD Fit Club, Move and Groove and Brain Fit Cardio for PD Instructor

Petra is a certified yoga therapist and has studied other movement modalities that help with PD symptoms such as PWR!Moves, exercise with hiking poles, corrective exercise, and strength training.

1. Why is PWR and high intensity training important for people with Parkinson’s?

PWR!Moves is a high intensity, high amplitude exercise. Studies have shown that regular vigorous exercise (about 7 or 8 on an effort scale of 0-10) provides neuroprotection and supports neurorepair in people with PD. Vigorous exercise has also been linked to higher cognitive scores and reduced severity of motor and non-motor symptoms. PWR!Moves are vigorous but also PD specific. We pair high intensity with skill acquisition – we work on everyday functional movements that can become challenging for people with PD but can be made easier by regular training. 

2. How did you become interested in PWR?

I learned about PWR!Moves from my colleague Murthy when I started assisting in his PD classes. PD Active was kind enough to sponsor my PWR!Moves Instructor certification. I learned a lot in that training and was very inspired by Becky Farley, her enthusiastic team, and all their PD clients who were getting great results from this exercise. 

3. How can people practice PWR when they’re not in a live class?

PWR!Moves consists of four basic functional and PD specific movements that can be incorporated into any exercise class or done at home. They are PWR!Up, PWR!Rock, PWR!Twist, and PWR!Step. They train good posture, weight shifting, trunk flexibility, and transitions, respectively. I explain these four basic movements in these two YouTube videos below. You can start with practicing 10 of each and perhaps increase the count as you get more familiar with them. 

Seated PWR!Moves Video

Standing PWR!Moves Video

4. Is there anything you want to share about your experience working with people with Parkinson’s?

My work with people with PD has been incredibly rewarding. I find that people with PD have a great sense of humor, are very dedicated to their exercise routine and have tons of courage. They inspire me every day.  

5. You often use music in your classes. What are your current top 3 songs for high intensity training?

I love using music because we are creatures of rhythm and music with a great beat can wake up our energy and joy.  Music is also great for PD because it provides an auditory stimulus for the brain and can really help with movement. 

I love using the oldies, Latin music, or pop music from 80’s to current pop. Anything with a good rhythm goes! We have done African drums, Russian songs, tango, samba, salsa, merengue – you name it! I love variety because each musical style asks your body to move a little differently. And that’s what people with PD need!

My current favorite is probably Latin music as I love taking Zumba classes. I love Date La Vuelta by Luis Fonsi, Sebastian Yatra and Nicky Jam. I love moving to U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer. I also love to move to modern pop songs by Katy Perry or Sia.