In a nutshell
This study reviewed exercise recommendations to help patients with impaired gait from Parkinson’s disease (PD). Researchers suggested that gait-specific exercise can help these patients more than a general exercise program.
PD affects between over 1% of adults aged 65 or older. The disease affects certain brain cells and causes movement symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors, and impaired balance. Patients can see their gait affected due to symptoms such as slow movements and an abnormal posture. An impaired gait is characterised by a lack of movement of the trunk, upper-body, and lower-body muscles. This results in slow and alternate steps that are short and rapid.
Physical exercise has been used to help these patients. However, specific exercise guidelines, focusing on gait is still needed.
Methods & findings
This study reviewed 40 other studies and included information about 1656 patients with PD. The effects of different exercise types on walking parameters such as speed, step length or cadence (the rate at which a person walks) were evaluated.
Patients who did gait specific exercises showed improvements in timed up-and-go (time that a patient takes to rise from a chair, walk a few meters, walk back to the chair and sit down) when compared to patients who did regular exercises or no exercise. Also, patients who did gait-specific exercises also showed improved comfortable walking speed, fast walking speed, stride or step length, and greater cadence.
Other exercises such as double-leg support time or 6-minute walk test showed being of no benefit to the patients.
This study recommends the use of the LSVT-BIG exercise program. This is used to improve patients´ ability to make bigger movements in patients with PD. Physical training of balance, gait and water exercises, treadmill and cycling, resistance training and Tai Chi, yoga, dance, and boxing are also recommended.
The bottom line
This study offers exercise recommendations to help improve gait function in patients with PD.
The fine print
This study only included patients with moderate PD. More studies are needed in patients with severe loss of gait function.
Published By :
Neurorehabilitation and neural repair
Sep 28, 2018
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