It is widely known that exercise is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. It helps strengthen the heart and bones, boosts mood and energy, and combats illness. For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), though, it may do even more. Over time, PD can impact mobility and increasingly affect quality of life. A recent study showed that exercising just 2.5 hours per week could help delay progression of these aspects of the disease.
The study, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, monitored the self-reported exercise of more than 3,400 people with PD over two years. The researchers found that, during that time, people with Parkinson’s who consistently exercised 2.5 hours per week had a smaller decline in mobility and quality of life compared to people who exercised less or not at all.
These positive implications of exercise were significant regardless of the type of exercise and no matter if the participant was a regular exerciser before the study or started upon study enrollment. This suggests almost any form of exercise can be beneficial and it’s never too late to begin.
So what exercise is best for PD? In short, it’s the one you’ll keep doing. There is evidence that exercise can help ease many of the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. As researchers work to better understand how exercise may impact the course of PD, work with your doctor and physical therapist to design a program that meets your individual needs and symptoms.