The results of maintaining some form of exercise regimen throughout aging are tremendous, but for people that have Parkinson’s disease, it could truly be a game-changer in the progression associated with the disease. Several studies are uncovering direct links between physical exercise and Parkinson’s, like the largest clinical study to date, in which patients who exercised no less than 2½ hours per week realized a greater total wellbeing compared to those who refrained from physical exercise. And that is only the start.
The onset of Parkinson’s disease symptoms takes place following a loss in the brain cells that create dopamine. Experts believe that exercise allows the brain to rebuild lost connections, form new ones, and maintain those that are in place. Additional research has revealed:
- Gains were occurring in stride length, gait speed and balance following treadmill exercise – after as little as only one session, and persisting for several weeks afterwards.
- Motor function and coordination were increased in those who pedaled faster on a stationary bike – once again, with results lasting for weeks after the study concluded.
- Noticeable improvements in the normalcy of movement were observed in those with Parkinson’s disease who participated in a regular workout program compared to people who did not.
It’s important to mention that the outcomes achieved were dependent upon consistent, ongoing exercise. The clinical tests revealed that any protective benefits occurring were discontinued once the amount and intensity of physical exercise were reduced or were implemented for only a short period of time. The essential criteria for sustainable results appear to be just like those needed to help those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke: intensity, specificity, difficulty and complexity.
Additional scientific studies are underway to hone in further on the benefits of exercising in persons with Parkinson’s disease, and the precise reasoning behind it. For the time being, should your loved one be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s certainly useful to talk to his / her primary care physician for a recommended exercise regimen.
For help with safe, dependable transportation and accompaniment to a doctor’s appointment or exercise program, or encouragement and motivation to take part in an ongoing exercise program in the home, call Complete Care at Home at 805-727-3445. We’re here to enhance overall wellbeing for those with Parkinson’s disease, or any other condition of aging, with professional elderly care in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area. Contact us for more information.