Brisk walking can ease Parkinson’s symptoms
Parkinson’s is a movement disorder, which essentially means parts of your body move when you don’t intend them to. It seems ironic then that new research on Parkinson’s disease examined intentional physical activity to improve symptoms.
A study published online in early July in the journal Neurology found that brisk walking helped ease certain symptoms of those with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. Those who participated in regular walks for exercise during the study improved the following aspects of their condition:
- Motor function
- Some aspects of thinking abilities
Research showed that brisk walking improved motor function and mood by 15 percent, attention/response control scores by 14 percent, reduced tiredness by 11 percent and increased aerobic fitness and gait speed by 7 percent.
Participants included 60 people who walked at moderate intensity three times each week for 45 minutes over a six-month period. During these walks, participants wore heart rate monitors. Researchers measured participants’ motor function, aerobic fitness, mood, tiredness, memory and thinking abilities.
On average, participants walked nearly 3 miles per hour and exercised at 47 percent of their heart rate reserve, which constitutes moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
“People with mild-moderate Parkinson’s who do not have dementia and are able to walk independently without a cane or walker can safely follow the recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults, which includes 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, and experience benefits,” said study author Dr. Ergun Uc, with the University of Iowa in Iowa City, in a statement.
Dr. Uc added that the results required confirmation in a randomized study with a control group.
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