The Promising Link Between Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Healthy Senior Man in GYMThe results of remaining physically active throughout aging are remarkable, but for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, it could truly be a game-changer in the progression of the disease. Several recent studies are uncovering direct links between exercise and Parkinson’s, including the largest clinical study thus far, in which patients who exercised a minimum of 2½ hours weekly obtained a higher quality of life compared to those who refrained from physical exercise. And that’s just the beginning.

The start of Parkinson’s disease symptoms occurs following loss of the brain cells that create dopamine. Researchers feel that physical exercise encourages the mind to revive lost connections, form new ones, and keep those that are still in place. Additional research has revealed:

Gains were accomplished in stride length, gait speed and balance after treadmill exercise – after as little as just one single session, and lasting for a couple of weeks afterwards.

Motor function and coordination were improved in those who pedaled at a faster rate on a stationary bicycle – again, with results lasting for many weeks after the study concluded.

Noticeable improvements in the normalcy of movement were observed in people with Parkinson’s who participated in a routine exercise regime compared to those that did not.

It’s worthwhile to mention that the particular results achieved were dependent upon consistent, ongoing physical exercise. The studies revealed that any protective gains realized were discontinued once the amount and intensity of physical exercise was reduced or was performed just for a short span of time. The required criteria for lasting results look like they’re the same as those required to help those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke: intensity, specificity, difficulty and complexity.

Additional research is underway to hone in even more regarding the benefits associated with exercise in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, and the precise reasoning behind it. In the meantime, if your loved one has been identified as having Parkinson’s disease, it is certainly useful to talk with his or her primary care physician for a proposed exercise regimen.

For assistance with in home care services in Santa Monica or the surrounding areas, call JFS Care at (213) 383-2273. JFS Care’s provides safe, dependable transportation and accompaniment to a doctor’s appointment or exercise program, or encouragement and motivation to take part in an ongoing exercise routine at home. Our professional in home care services are available to boost total well-being for those with Parkinson’s disease or another condition of aging. Contact us for more information.  

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