Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Low Intensity Treadmill Exercise and Parkinson's

Low-intensity walking may help people with Parkinson's disease improve their gait and mobility.

While The Star is not known for the quality of its political analysis, it does produce good non-political articles on business, computers, food, health, etc. Last Sunday, Star ran a story to commemorate World Parkinson’s Day Parkinson’s.

The Zestzfulness Team would like to follow up with this report from the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center found that Parkinson's patients who walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed for a longer duration (low-intensity exercise) improved their walking more than patients who walked for less time but at an increased speed and incline (high-intensity exercise). The investigators also found benefits for stretching and resistance exercises.

Their study, presented on April 12, compared three different forms of exercise to see which was most beneficial to men and women with Parkinson's disease, which affects motor control.

The researchers led by Lisa Shulman, M.D., of the University of Maryland randomly assigned 67 people with the disease to one of three programs:

- Low-intensity treadmill walk for 50 minutes;

- High-intensity treadmill walk for 30 minutes; and

- Weight and stretching regimen that included leg presses, extensions and curls.

The workouts were done three times a week for three months. The study participants were tested for cardiovascular fitness.

Participants in the low intensity treadmill training demonstrated the most consistent improvements in gait and mobility. People who were on the low intensity treadmill training performed better than the two other groups on the distance and speed tests. However, only stretching and resistance training improved the ratings on the Parkinson’s disease scale.

“Contrary to evidence suggesting that high intensity exercise is the most effective, our results suggest that a combination of low intensity training and stretching resistance training may achieve the greatest improvements for people with Parkinson’s disease” said Shulman.

”Exercise may, in fact, delay disability and help to preserve independence."

Source: 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology News Daily

Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.

CLICK HERE for more information from PubMed Health or go directly to the Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association.

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