WashingtonPeople who exercise regularly for at least one to two hours a day may benefit from early-stage Parkinson’s disease, according to new study findings.
This study is published in the ‘Journal of Neurology’. Researchers found that people who exercised regularly over five years performed better on cognitive tests and had slower disease progression in several aspects.
“Our results are exciting because they suggest that it is never too late for someone with Parkinson’s to begin an exercise program to improve the course of their disease,” said study author Kazuto Tsukita, MD, of Kyoto University in Japan. And one member said. American Academy of Neurology.
“That’s because we found that to slow the progression of the disease, it was more important for people with Parkinson’s to maintain an exercise program than it was to be active early in the disease,” Tsukita said.
The study looked at 237 people with early-stage Parkinson’s. Their average age was 63 years and the researchers then followed them for six years.
Participants’ exercise levels at the start of the study were determined using a questionnaire that measures time and intensity during the previous week’s leisure activity, such as walking and biking; household activity, such as gardening; and professional activity, such as taking care of others. General cognitive tests were used to measure people’s verbal and memory skills and how long it took to complete mental tasks.
The researchers found that the people’s level of physical activity at the start of the study was not associated with the progression of their Parkinson’s. Instead, they found that maintaining physical activity was more important over time.
People who got at least four hours per week of moderate to vigorous exercise such as walking or dancing had a slower decline in balance and walking after five years, compared to those who did not get that much exercise. The researchers used a common test to rate each person’s Parkinson’s symptoms on a scale of zero to four, with higher scores indicating more severe impairment.
Those who got below average levels of moderate to vigorous exercise, or less than one to two hours, once or twice a week, increased from an average score of 1.4 to 3.7 over six years. This is compared to those who received above-average levels of moderate to vigorous exercise, who increased by an average score of 1.4 to 3.0 during that time.
A cognitive test was a common paper-and-pencil test used by researchers to measure mental processing speed. The test gave the participant 90 seconds to match the numbers with the geometric figures and the maximum possible score was 110. Those who worked less than 15.5 hours per week on average fell from 44 to 40 on the test six years later.
This compared with an average drop of 44 to 43 for those who worked more than 15.5 hours in the same period.
“Although the drugs may provide some symptom relief to people with Parkinson’s, they have not been shown to slow the progression of the disease,” Sukita said.
“We found that regular physical activity, including household tasks and moderate exercise, can actually improve the course of the disease in the long run. The best part is that exercise is low-cost and has few side effects,” Sukita said.
The study does not prove that maintaining an exercise program will delay the effects of Parkinson’s disease. It shows only one union.
First Published:January 15, 2022, 7:15 am