Parkinson’s disease is known to be a slowly progressing neurological disorder that can cause issues with the motor movement of the body. Signs of Parkinson’s disease can include severe stiffness, loss of balance, and lethargy. Although there are no cures for the condition, symptoms can be slowed down. However, most of the prescribed drugs for Parkinson’s disease can decrease in effectiveness over the course of time. This led to some investigation from researchers to consider the role of exercise as a treatment option. Initial studies revealed that exercise does reduce the symptoms and slowed the progression of the condition.
According to a recent phase 2 study, intense treadmill exercise can potentially reduce the progression symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In this study, researchers treated exercise as a treatment and tracked the safety and effectiveness of different levels of exercise. The study consisted of 128 people that had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and were not taking any medications nor exercised. The aerobic capacity, heartbeats and the severity of the disease were tested for a baseline.
The patients were divided into three groups. Group 1 was asked to continue living their life in a normal manner. Group 2 was asked to implement exercise in which they would walk on the treadmill daily for 30 minutes, four times a week. The speed of the treadmill was manipulated to maintain the heart rate of the participants between 60 to 65 percent of their maximum heart rate. Group 3 was asked to also implement exercise for the same amount of time but their heart rate was maintained in the range of 80 to 85 percent of their maximum rates. The patients were under supervision for the initial month and then asked to continue exercising on their own.
At the end of the six-month study, Group 1 showed their symptoms progressed further. Group 2 showed their symptoms progressed but not as much as Group 1. Group 3 showed almost no progression in their symptoms after following a heavier exercise regimen as the other groups. This study concluded that higher intensity exercise helped in decreasing the symptoms by improving the neuronal blood supply. Improved blood flow helps with the overall health of the brain and slows down the deterioration of the body.
The findings from the study are quite encouraging for patients who are recently diagnosed or early in their symptoms to have great benefits from the heavy exercise program. However, it is advised to consult with your physician prior to starting an exercise plan to avoid injuries and ensure your safety.