The NY Times reported this week on a research study which found that high-intensity treadmill training slowed the progression of Parkinson’s disease in Parkies who were “newly diagnosed” (that is, diagnosed within the past five years).
The researchers studied 128 men and women who fit this definition. The researchers randomly divided the participants into three groups:
- One group did not exercise at all.
- A second group gently worked out on a treadmill so that their heart rates rose to 60-65% of their maximum rate. They did this for 30 minutes, four times a week, for six months.
- The third group also worked out on a treadmill for 30 minutes, four times a week, over six months. However, the treadmill’s speed and incline were manipulated to raise the participants’ heartbeat to 80-85% of their maximum.
The results? The first group (which didn’t exercise) showed declining health on standard Parkinson’s disease scales. Ditto the second group, who had not exercised strenuously. But the third group showed almost no change in their Parkinson’s disease scores. The researchers concluded that intense exercise slowed down Parkinson’s progression.
The reason? “My guess is that high-intensity exercise does a better job at improving brain vascularity and neuronal blood supply,” according to Daniel Corcos, one of the study’s lead researchers. He and some of his co-researchers are planning to test this further.
This study is rather straight-forward, but what’s interesting are the readers’ comments, many written by Parkies or by Parky care-givers about their own experiences with exercise.
P.S. If you’re interested in reading more about research on physical exercise, check out these other Parking Suns blog posts:
- Exercise and Anxiety
- Pumping Iron for Parkies
- Exercise – Just Read It!
- Running: Cognitive Benefits, Too!
- Reader Response: Effects of Physical Activity on Parkinson’s Disease
- My Main Take-Aways from the Friday Session on “Exercise as Treatment”
- Can You “Learn” Yourself Out of Parkinson’s Disease?
- Hot Off the (Bench) Press: Lighter Weights Just As Good
- Exercise: What’s Best for Your Brain?
- Again With the Aerobic Exercise…
- Rock On, Rock Steady!
- Just Exercise!
- Proof Positive!