Exercise for an Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is also called benign essential tremor and is, among the 20 different types, the most common. This type of tremor is an unintentional, rhythmic, back and forth muscle movement of one or more parts of your body, but most commonly affects one or both hands. Essential tremor may range from mild and nonprogressive to progressive and worsening over time. Triggers for essential tremor may include stress, physical exhaustion, fever and low blood sugar. According to the National Institutes of Health, although this disorder can affect anyone at any age, it most commonly appears after the age of 40 and may be an inherited condition.

Physical Therapy

According to MayoClinic.com, physical therapy exercises may help reduce your essential tremor. Your physical therapist may engage your body in a variety of stretching and movement exercises that can help improve your muscle control and coordination. Your therapist may also instruct you in a number of exercises that you can do at home on your own. Your home instruction may include using adaptive devices such as wrist weights, wider writing devices and using heavier plates, cups and utensils.


Yoga is a gentle, therapeutic exercise technique that utilizes a number of stretches, poses and breathing for improved muscle tone and strength, balance and flexibility. Yoga exercises may help reduce your essential tremor and its associated pain or discomfort. This exercise may also help reduce your stress and anxiety, which are common triggers and symptoms associated with essential tremor. You may benefit from daily yoga practice; however, consult with your healthcare provider prior to starting any new exercise program.


Since your essential tremor may get worse with increased stress and physical exhaustion, relaxation may provide effective relief. You can try deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation techniques, massage therapy and meditation. Engaging in daily relaxation may provide you with the greatest benefit, allowing your body the time it needs to restore your energy and reduce the stresses of daily life. Experiment to find the relaxation techniques that work best for you.

Low-Impact Exercise

Engaging in regular, low-impact exercises may help improve your blood flow and circulation and reduce the stress that may contribute to your essential tremor. Walking, swimming or biking are some low-impact exercises that you might consider. Start light and keep the amount of time you engage in the exercise minimal so you don't exhaust yourself, which could exacerbate your essential tremor. Consult with your healthcare provider prior to engaging in any of these low-impact exercises.

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