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Exercise improves condition, slows progression in Parkinson’s


Parkinson’s is a progressive disease triggered in an area of the brain that controls movement. As such it can cause involuntary movements, but also impaired balance and problems walking or even standing still. Falls are increasingly common with around 60% of patients experiencing at least one fall a year. Two thirds of these people may even fall frequently, with obvious consequences.

First, researchers in Australia, publishing in Neurology, have shown that a 40 – 60 minute exercise programme three times a week, resulted in 70 per cent less falls for those without severe problems. Overall quality of life, and factors such as improved balance were noted by a team led by Dr. Colleen Canning at the University of Sydney.

Secondly, researchers from Northwestern Medical School and the University of Denver are undertaking a randomised clinical trial(1) and have shown that people with early stage Parkinson’s who undertake high intensity exercise at least three times a week have far less deterioration in motor skills.

The regime was perfectly safe and Professor Daniel Corcos said that if people wanted to delay the progression of their Parkinson’s they should aim to get their heart rate to 80-85% of Maximum. This is defined as 220 minus your age. (So for a 70 year old it is 220 – 70 = 150 max x 80% = 120 beats per minute).

Go to: Exercise is a powerful Drug


  1. The phase II trial was reported in JAMA Neurology Dec 11, 2017