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Study: High-intensity exercise may slow Parkinson’s

Anyone who’s serious about exercise knows the quality of a training session is usually more important than its duration.

And a recent study suggests that’s especially true for Parkinson’s disease patients who are trying to stem the progression of their degenerative neurological condition via increased physical activity.

The randomized clinical trial — which was structured to mimic an FDA-compliant phase 2 randomized medication study — involved 128 Parkinson’s patients who had been diagnosed within the previous five years. None of the participants was taking medication for the disease.

They were divided into three groups: those who exercised vigorously (80 to 85 percent of maximum heart rate) on a treadmill three days a week for six months, those who exercised moderately (60 to 65 percent of maximum heart rate) on a treadmill three days a week for six months, and those who did not exercise (the control group).

At the conclusion of the six months, both the moderate exercisers and nonexercisers exhibited a decline in the baseline status of their disease.

But, as The New York Times noted, “the group that had worked out intensely showed almost no decline in their disease scores.”

Thus, the study’s authors concluded “high-intensity treadmill exercise may be feasible and prescribed safely for patients with Parkinson’s disease (and that) an efficacy trial is warranted to determine whether high-intensity treadmill exercise produces meaningful clinical benefits.”

The study, which was published in December’s JAMA Neurology, supported what many have theorized for years based on anecdotal observation: Physical activity is beneficial for those with Parkinson’s.

From walking and dancing to yoga and Pilates, the activities encouraged by Parkinson’s advocacy organizations run the gamut.

The Palm Beach Post

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