Next in a new series of blogs titled ‘Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease – Sorting the Motherhood Stuff’, Drs Natalie Palavra and Paul Silberstein discuss ‘Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease’.
Dr Palavra introduces the blog in this short video.
Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease
Why is exercise important in Parkinson’s Disease?
Exercise is one of the best treatments for Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and is recommended at all stages of the condition. Research has shown that starting to exercise early in the course of PD and exercising consistently can improve quality of life and symptoms. Some research has shown that regular exercise may potentially modify the disease process in PD, not only during established disease, but even in the years before it is diagnosed.
Some research studies have found numerous short-term and long-term health benefits of exercise in PD. Exercise has been shown to improve motor symptoms (such as rigidity, slow movements, balance, strength) and non-motor symptoms (such as constipation, cognitive decline, anxiety, depression). Most importantly exercise may improve quality of life, with research finding that adults with PD who exercise at least 2.5 hours per week have better quality of life.
Some tips that may be helpful:
- PD affects patients differently – a tailored program, perhaps prescribed by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist may be best to meet your needs.
- Many types of exercise have been shown to be beneficial in PD including aerobic exercise (e.g. biking, running), flexibility exercises, resistance training, Tai chi, non-contact boxing, and many more. Mobility, strength and flexibility are all important components.
- Participating in exercise groups can improve quality of life and provide a way to connect with others.
- An exercise program can teach strategies to help prevent falls, control freezing and improve other symptoms.
- Try to exercise consistently, at least 2.5 hours per week.
Parkinson’s Foundation. Parkinson’s Outcome Project. Retrieved 31 July 2021 from;
Rafferty, M.R., Schmidt, P.N., Luo, S.T. et al Regular Exercise, Quality of Life, and Mobility in Parkinson’s Disease: A Longitudinal Analysis of National Parkinson Foundation Quality Improvement Initiative Data. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, (2017) 7(1), 193-202.
Crotty, G.F., Schwarzchild, M.A. Chasing Protection in Parkinson’s Disease: Does Exercise Reduce Risk and Progression? Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. (2020) 12:186. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2020.00186.