Vigorous exercise may help slow Parkinson's diseaseStaff Writer | December 14, 2017
People with early stage Parkinson's may be able to delay a worsening of the disease through a regimen of intense exercise, new research found.
Body A regimen of intense exercise
He's professor of physical therapy and human movement sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
However, a more "moderate" exercise level -- under the heart rate threshold outlined in the study -- was not effective in slowing the disease, the researchers said.
As Corcos' team explained, medications for Parkinson's cause harmful side effects and their effectiveness declines over time, so new treatments are needed.
"The earlier in the disease you intervene [with intensive exercise], the more likely it is you can prevent the progression of the disease," Corcos said in a university news release.
The exact magnitude of the effect remains unknown, however.
"We delayed worsening of symptoms for six months; whether we can prevent progression any longer than six months will require further study," Corcos said.
But the findings do challenge the long-held belief that intense exercise is too physically stressful for people with Parkinson's disease, he added.
The new study included 128 patients, ages 40 to 80, who had early stage Parkinson's and were not yet taking medications for the disease.
Some of the patients did high-intensity workouts three times a week for six months, others did moderate-intensity workouts, and a control group did no exercise.
The results showed that intense exercise was safe and delayed worsening of Parkinson's symptoms such as loss of muscle control, trembling, stiffness, slowness and impaired balance. ■