Exercise may help improve gait, balance and reduce risks of falls in individuals living with Parkinson’s disease, researchers say.
Parkinson’s Disease — a neurodegenerative disease that impacts movement, often including tremors — affects nearly seven to 10 million persons around the world, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
Despite the progressive nature of the disease, people living with Parkinson’s disease can expect to improve their physical condition by being more physically active, the researchers said.
“Exercise should be a life-long commitment to avoid physical and cognitive decline, and our research shows that this is also true for individuals with Parkinson’s disease,” said Christian Duval, Professor at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal in Canada.
The study found that exercise in Parkinson’s disease patients majorly benefitted physical capacities — strength, flexibility –, physical and cognitive functional capacities — gait, mobility, cognitive functions.
The physical activity was also effective for limb strength, endurance, flexibility or range of motion, motor control, and metabolic function in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Exercise showed nearly 67 per cent improvement in upper limb strength, the researchers explained.
However, physical activity seems less efficient at improving clinical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease — rigidity, tremor, posture alterations — and psychosocial aspects of life — quality of life and health management –, with only 50 per cent or less of results reporting positive effects.
The impact of physical activity on cognitive functions and depression also appeared weaker, the researchers reported the in the paper published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.