Exercise May Help People with Parkinson's Disease

   |  Updated: January 02, 2015 18:20 IST

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Exercise May Help People with Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is basically a condition, wherein a person finds it difficult to create a balance between various bodily movements. It occurs in older people ageing between 50 to 65 years due to degeneration in nerve cells present in a certain portion of the midbrain that is responsible for bodily movements and co-ordination. The specific cause behind this nerve degeneration is unknown.

People with Parkinson's disease experience trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face, rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement and postural instability. Though medications can tone down the severity of the condition, the disease is not completely curable. A latest study published in the American Academy of Neurology, states that exercise may benefit people with Parkinson's disease and help in improving their balance, ability to move around and quality of life.

A team of researchers from the University of California conducted an exercise programme and found that participants who performed better on tests of ability to move around and balance, had lower fear of falls and reported better overall mood. "The resulting injuries, pain, limitations of activity and fear of falling again can really affect people's health and well-being," said study author Colleen G Canning, of the University of Sydney in Australia.

In the study, 231 people with Parkinson's disease either received their usual care or took part in an exercise programme of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months. This minimally-supervised exercise programme was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist with participants performing most of the exercise at home. On average, 13 per cent of the exercise sessions were supervised by a physical therapist.

Compared to those in the control group, the number of falls by participants who exercised was reduced in those with less severe Parkinson's disease, but not in those who had a severe cake. For those who had a less severe case, about 70 per cent reduction in falls was reported.

"These results suggest that minimally supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson's and also that these should be started early in the disease process," said study author Colleen Canning from University of Sydney in Australia.

Inputs from IANS and PTI

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