Press Release: New Study Shows Regular Exercise Found to Slow Decline in Parkinson’s Disease

Media Contact: Elizabeth Clausen, +1 414-276-2145, eclausen@movementdisorders.org

Regular Exercise Found to Slow Decline in Parkinson’s Disease

SAN DIEGO – Regular exercise and increasing physical activity is associated with a slower decline in quality of life in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, according to a study released today at the 19th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

This study evaluated 2,940 patients from 20 sites affiliated with the National Parkinson Foundation Quality Improvement Initiative. The cohort was assessed using the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39), and patients were measured at baseline, 1 year, and 2 year follow up appointments. Those who were classified as non-exercisers at baseline and began to exercise after their initial visit had significantly less worsening of PDQ-39 than non-exercisers. Ultimately, the study found that increasing physical activity greater than 2.5 hours of exercise per week is associated with a slower decline in total PDQ-39 scores.

Michael Okun, Professor of Neurology at the University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration states, “This study makes clear that everyone with Parkinson’s should be exercising. This longitudinal study of patients selected without exclusions shows that patients suffer from delaying starting their exercise program. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do, they benefit from just getting up and out and from moving.” Okun adds, “This study adds to mounting evidence that exercise is good and sooner is better than later.

About the 19th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders:

Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options in Movement Disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. Over 3,500 physicians and medical professionals from more than 80 countries will be able to view over 1,500 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society:

The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), an international society of over 5,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit www.movementdisorders.org.

3 responses on Press Release: New Study Shows Regular Exercise Found to Slow Decline in Parkinson’s Disease

  1. Lynn,

    I think there are two levels of understanding that can help a fitness instructor help their clients with Parkinson’s disease.

    To understand what a person with PD is going through and what they can expect as their disease progresses, you could read the factual information provided by PD organizations listed on our PD Community page, http://pdgladiators.org/pd-community/, or any of the blogs by doctors and patients listed on this blog: http://www.tomspdblog.com/p/here-is-list-of-blogs-and-bloggers-i_13.html

    To understand how various forms of exercise may help a person with PD either slow the progression of the disease (actually slow cell death or restore function) or compensate for impairments, you could scan some of the studies on our PD Exercise Research page, http://pdgladiators.org/pd-exercise-research/, or review our article on Crafting Your Personal Exercise Routine, http://pdgladiators.org/crafting-your-personal-exercise-routine/. Other excellent resources on the benefits of exercise on PD include http://www.pwr4life.org and http://www.delaythedisease.com. Both offer information on their websites as well as books and courses relating to their proprietary programs.

    Thank you for running a great class in the PD Gladiators at the Y program and for caring about the people with PD who look to you for the hope that they can live better with their disease!

  2. Hi,
    I teach a PD class at the Forsyth Family YMCA and would like any information that gives me a better understanding to help my clients.
    Thank you. Lynn Wark

  3. I agree. nine years ago while working at sea on a large ship I noticed I ‘swayed ‘ different than anyone else. I started in the ships gym with an aggressive balance exercise program, three years later I was diagnose with Parkinson’s. Today people tell me when it comes to Parkinson’s “I won the lottery”. I just got back from my OSTEOPATHIC MANUAL THERAPIST . He said I am in better shape than people much younger than myself (59). Exercise and attitude is everything I’m also on YouTube (brag brag) >ole geezer Parkinson’s humor < ( you want the one on neuroplasticity) music therapy might peak your interest as well

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