Researchers have learned that people with mild to moderate Parkinsons disease who regularly walk for exercise may improve their motor function, mood, tiredness, fitness and some aspects of thinking abilities. The study is published in the July issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
People with moderate Parkinsons who do not have dementia and are able to walk independently without a cane or walker can safely follow the recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults, which includes 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity, and experience benefits, said study author Y. Uc, MD, with the University of Iowa and member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Other study results
- Brisk walking improved motor function and mood by 15 percent
- Brisk walking improved attention/response control scores by 14 percent
- Brisk walking improved tiredness by 11 percent
- Brisk walking increased aerobic fitness and gait speed by seven percent
- On the test of motor function participants improved by an average of 2.8 points - considered a clinically important difference
The study involved 60 participants that took part in sessions of walking at moderate intensity while wearing heart rate monitors. They did this three times a week for 45 minutes per session for six months. They also took tests that measured their motor function, aerobic fitness, mood, tiredness, and memory and thinking abilities. The average walking speed was about 2.9 miles per hour. The participants exercised at 47 percent of their heart rate reserve, which meets the definition of moderate intensity aerobic exercise.
Rodale news also recently cited eight great reasons for brisk walking. Their article states that it deflects diabetes, soups up your sex life, saves money on gym costs, can get you off medications, helps fade fibromyalgia pain, helps you beat breast cancer, reduces stroke risk and lowers your risk of developing dementia.