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Moderate walking can relieve Parkinson’s disease symptoms

By jeremyc | June 27, 2014

A recent study has suggested that a simple, no-frills walking regimen may benefit patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The study found that people diagnosed with mild/moderate Parkinson’s disease improve their mental and physical health to various degrees through regular walking.

The improvements noted in the study included improved mood, fitness, energy level, stamina and physical coordination. The study was led by Ergun Y. Uc, MD, of the University of Iowa and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Iowa City. A total of 60 Parkinson’s patients were enrolled from spring 2009 and the study lasted three years. The participants walked three times a week for six months without a cane, walker or another helper. Their physical coordination, reasoning and thinking skills and mental and emotional health were measured.

The walking sessions were 15 minutes for the first six weeks and eventually increased to 45 minutes. Out of the 60 participants, 50 completed the study. On analysis of the results, the researchers found that walking regimens improve the participants’ motor function by 15 percent, attention span and mental stimulation response by 14 percent, and endurance and walking speed by 7 percent. Their level of exhaustion fell 11 percent.

The researchers wrote, “People with mild-[to]-moderate Parkinson’s 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.”

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