It’s amazing what a person with Parkinson’s can do to stay fit with a great PWR! (Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery) Instructor, and a chair! I had the opportunity to experience this exercise program at Jennifer Broder’s PWR!Moves class at the CPMC Davies Campus in San Francisco. One visit to the class confirms why people with Parkinson’s give the class a five-star review.
For those of you who haven’t been introduced to PWR!, it is a PD-specific skill training program that was created by Dr. Becky Farley from Arizona to help protect, repair, and optimize the brain function of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. The program views exercise as medicine.
PWR!Moves in the scenic glass Gazebo building at CPMC Davies Campus is accompanied by wonderful classic tunes featuring Etta James, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and Aretha Franklin. I appreciated being able to keep up with the easy-to-learn moves set to music.
The concept of exercise for PD is something that Broder cares about deeply. She explained “I became passionate about helping individuals with PD after completing the PWR! therapist training, where I learned about the concept of “Exercise is Medicine” for PD. Research has demonstrated that regular exercise plays a vital role in PD symptom management, in addition to boosting brain health and neuroplasticity.
“My grandfather Jerry had PD, so I saw firsthand how traditional healthcare models often fall short in helping individuals with PD achieve the proper dosing of exercise. The PWR! philosophy calls for a paradigm shift in PD management, combining regular 1:1 insurance-based physical therapy tune-ups, along with exercise maintenance through PD-specialized community classes.”
Broder continued “My goal when starting the PWR!Moves class was to foster the growth of a supportive community of individuals with PD.” In addition to the weekly class sessions, she provides monthly PD educational themes in order to promote improved exercise adherence and quality of life.
Throughout the years, PWR! has been the subject of several Parkinson’s Women blogs. The PWR!Moves exercise program includes training programs for instructors such as Broder, and it has spread in popularity throughout the country.
Broder received a Master of Physical Therapy in 2006 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Doctor of Physical Therapy from The College of St. Scholastica in 2017, and Neurologic Clinical Specialist certification through the ABPTS in 2015. She currently practices at the outpatient neurologic clinic of California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco where she works closely with the CPMC Movement Disorders Clinic. In addition to specializing in Parkinson’s disease, she has completed the APTA competency course on Vestibular Rehabilitation through Emory University.
Broder offers her Community PWR! Moves Classes from 10:30-11:30 on Tuesdays at the CPMC Davies Campus Gazebo Room. First-time visitors are requested to contact Broder at PWRMovesSF@gmail.com so she can send an introductory letter and a waiver form. The class is free for attendees.