The consequences of staying active and exercising throughout aging are tremendous, but for those with Parkinson’s, it might truly be a game-changer in the progression of the disease. Several studies are exposing direct links between physical exercise and Parkinson’s, such as the largest clinical study to date, in which patients who exercised no less than 2½ hours per week realized a greater overall wellbeing than those who refrained from exercise. And that’s just the beginning of the encouraging news for those caring for someone with Parkinson’s.
The onset of Parkinson’s symptoms occurs following a loss in the brain cells that produce dopamine. Researchers believe that exercise makes it possible for the brain to rebuild lost connections, form new ones, and continue maintaining those that are still in place. Additional studies show:
- Gains were noticed in stride length, gait speed and balance following treadmill exercise – after as little as just one single session, and persisting for many weeks afterwards.
- Motor function and coordination were enhanced in people who pedaled faster on a stationary bike – once more, with results lasting for weeks after the study was over.
- Noticeable improvements regarding the normalcy of movement were noticed in persons with Parkinson’s who participated in a routine exercise regime in comparison to those who did not.
It’s important to mention that the results achieved were dependent upon consistent, ongoing exercise. The clinical tests reported that any protective benefits achieved were discontinued after the amount and intensity of physical exercise was reduced or was implemented just for a short period of time. The necessary criteria for sustainable results seem to be just like those needed 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 on the remarkable effects of physical exercise in people that have Parkinson’s disease, and the precise reasoning behind it. For the time being, if caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease, it’s certainly useful to talk to his/her primary care physician for a recommended exercise routine.
For customized in-home health care services to help those with Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions live safer and more comfortable lives, call Harmony Home Health & Hospice, one of the top-rated home health agencies providing elder care services in Salt Lake City and nearby areas, at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE.