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Mike Tindall mimics Johnny Wilkinson as he plays rugby game

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Growing up, the former England rugby player was close to his father Philip Tindall who taught him to play the sport at an early age. The star, who is married to Zara Tindall, went on to win the 2003 world cup. It was during the same year as this tournament that Philip Tindall started having twinges in one of his hands and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years later. Mike has admitted previously how he “didn’t really pay much attention to it”.

Speaking to the BBC, Tindall said: “I saw the most famous [person with Parkinson’s] for me back then was Muhammad Ali, and what he looked like was nothing like what my dad looked like.

“So I didn’t really understand the process of how it deteriorated and how it could end up at that point and that’s sort of one of the things I regret…. is not putting a bit more pressure on him to do more back then.”

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that causes parts of the brain to become damaged over many years.

Over time, the condition causes slowness of movement, immobility and tremors. But treatment can help offset the effects for as long as possible.

Tindall also explained how the “era” of people ignoring their health issues has to change and described how there were some issues with his dad’s treatment because of his refusal to recognise pain.

He said: “No matter how much pain he would always say I’m fine.

“I think that’s been some of the issues in terms of his medication and getting him to take a lead on what he needs to do.“Whether it be going to the gym and everything else. That era has to end.”

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Some of the other symptoms that Parkinson’s causes include speech changes, writing changes, flagyl pinworms rigid muscles and impaired posture.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help to “slow the disease” as it “protects your brain cells”.

One study has found that people with Parkinson’s that exercised for two and a half hours a week had less of a decline in mobility and quality of life over two years.

The Parkinson’s foundation explains: “There is a strong consensus among physicians and physical therapists that improved mobility by exercising may improve thinking, memory and reduce risk of falls.

“By avoiding complications from falls you can prevent further injury.

“At this time, we know that people who exercise vigorously, for example running or cycling, have fewer changes in their brains caused by aging.”

Reflecting on his dad’s slow reaction to his symptoms, only getting help two years after they arose, Tindall also emphasised the importance of getting help if you experience symptoms rather than ignoring them.

“If you feel something or you notice something don’t just think it will magically disappear,” he said.

“You’ve got to get out there and get active and actually be ahead of the game.“

In another interview, with The Mirror, the rugby star said his dad has had a “tough five years, maybe even longer”.

His father also lost strength after a back operation and then when he developed colitis.

“When you start adding those things up they’ve made a massive change over the last 10 years whereas before that, you know, it was a lot slower process,” he added.

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