In a nutshell
This study investigated the effects of intensive exercise in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The authors concluded that intensive exercise is safe and may improve muscle strength in patients with PD.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive condition that causes a deterioration in motor function or movement. Many patients with PD do not exercise regularly as it is difficult to do so or they may be afraid of falling. A lack of exercise, however, can lead to reduced muscle strength and flexibility and contribute to worsening motor function.
Evidence suggests that exercise may be of important benefit to patients with PD. There are many types and regimens of exercise and it is unclear what approach would be of most benefit.
Methods & findings
This study included evidence from 15 clinical trial reports. In these studies, patients underwent resistance training, endurance training, or other intensive training modalities. Some of these reports investigated muscle strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, quality of life and PD disease rating using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Score (UPDRS).
Resistance training was associated with a significant increase in muscle strength and improved walking performance. Endurance training may improve cardiovascular fitness but the findings were not significant. It may also improve walking performance. Other intense training modalities were associated with improvements in strength, balance, and walking performance.
UPDRS and quality of life scores may also benefit from intensive exercise, however this is not conclusive. Intensive exercise therapy did not cause deterioration in any patients.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that intensive exercise is safe and may improve muscle strength in patients with PD.
The fine print
The number of participants in the trials was relatively small. The period of intervention was less than 12 weeks so the long-term benefits of intensive exercise could not be examined. A large-scale, long-term clinical trial is needed to determine the effects of exercise in patients with PD.
If you have any concerns regarding exercise and PD, please discuss this with your physician. It is always important to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Published By :
Journal of the neurological sciences
Jan 29, 2016
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