April 10, 2024

A senior man stands next to a treadmill as he contemplates the impact of exercise on Parkinson’s disease.

The impact of exercise on Parkinson’s disease is significant and has been shown to improve motor function and quality of life.

The results of remaining physically active throughout aging are fantastic, but for people that have Parkinson’s, it may truly be a game-changer in the progression associated with the disease. Several studies are showing the significant impact of exercise on Parkinson’s disease, including the largest clinical study, in which patients who exercised at least 2½ hours each week realized a higher quality of life compared to those who refrained from exercise. And that is just the beginning.

The onset of Parkinson’s symptoms occurs following loss of the brain cells that create dopamine. Experts believe that exercise enables the brain to recover lost connections, form new ones, and continue maintaining those that remain established. Additional studies show:

  • Gains were discovered in stride length, gait speed and balance after treadmill exercise – after as little as only one session, and persisting for a number of weeks afterwards.
  • Motor function and coordination were improved in people who pedaled faster on a stationary bike – once more, with results lasting for weeks after the study ended.
  • Noticeable improvements in the normalcy of movement were discovered in those with Parkinson’s who participated in a regular workout program compared to those that did not.

It’s important to note that the outcomes achieved were reliant upon consistent, ongoing exercise. The research results reported that any protective benefits occurring were discontinued once the amount and intensity of physical exercise was reduced or was implemented just for a short span of time. The essential criteria for sustainable results appear to be just like those required to help those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke: intensity, specificity, difficulty, and complexity.

Additional scientific studies are underway to hone in further on the advantages of exercising in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, and the precise reasoning behind it. For the time being, if a loved one has been identified as having Parkinson’s disease, it’s certainly beneficial to consult with their primary care physician for a recommended exercise regimen.

For assistance with safe, dependable transportation and accompaniment to a doctor’s appointment or exercise program, or encouragement and motivation to take part in a regular exercise program at home, call Continuum at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336. Our professional in-home care services are available to improve quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, or any other condition of aging throughout St. Louis, Ladue, Kirkwood, and the surrounding areas. Contact us for more information.