Parkinson’s News Forums Forums Parkinson’s Treatment Diet and Exercise Can exercise delay Parkinson’s progression?

  • Can exercise delay Parkinson’s progression?

    Posted by ally on October 26, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Can high intensity exercise delay Parkinson’s progression? That’s a question a clinical trial researchers at Northwestern University are currently investigating. Listen to this flash briefing to find out more.

    Do you notice that regular exercise has an affect on your symptoms or disease progression? Are there certain types of exercise that seem to be more beneficial for you than others?

    Trout24 replied 1 month, 1 week ago 28 Members · 40 Replies
  • 40 Replies
  • beth-t-browne

    Member
    October 28, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    So many on here are feeling sure their exercixe is helping them a lot.  My doctor said the 20 years I worked out at 24Hr, 3x a week, for an hour and a half, is why I am doing better then most at the 3 yr stage.  So, I have been exercising with the class that just started at the apartment I live in.  It is a 55+.  I also use the treadmill.  I know if I sit to much I do not feel so good and I can’t get through the day without tiring.

    • fran-adler

      Member
      November 4, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      I am very lucky to have an indoor pool where I live (over 55 Community) and I go to water aerobics 3x a week.. it really helps me as far as better balance and strength ….I feel so. much better after I go.

    • Susan Schlager

      Member
      July 4, 2023 at 4:49 pm

      My husband developed a herniated disc shortly before we had planned a 3 week driving trip to CA.  The herniated disc  limited his activity before we left and much time in the care limited his activity on top of the disc issue during the trip.  He is now back to exercising but not to the same intensity as prior.  I have seen a definite decline in his condition.  My question:  will increased daily exercise return him to his prior condition with almost no tremors?

  • charles-schiller

    Member
    October 28, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    The general thinking among MDS is that It does. I go PT twice a week, weight and resistance training, stretching and an obstacle course for balance (muscle memory). Each visit is one hour. I also work out twice a week with a private trainer. Same program as PT but without an obstacle course.I know I’m way stronger now and my balance too is way better. Who knows if any of this slows progression? How to tell? It’s like the Frost poem about the road not taken.

  • don-bell

    Member
    October 28, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Does anyone have a suggestion for an exercise app created for Parkinson’s patients?

  • leslie

    Member
    October 29, 2021 at 6:08 am

    I attend an exercise class for PWP 3x week. It has definitely helps strengthen me.  Helps me with coordination, sequencing, memory, voice strength, comaraderie, gets me out of the house & lifts my spirits.

  • Rick Tabakin

    Member
    October 29, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    My motion disorder doctor has encouraged me to continue playing pickleball, as long as I don’t fall. My playing is getting a bit worse, but appears to be limiting the progression of PD. I also recommend PT at least twice a week.

  • marjorie-weiss

    Member
    November 2, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    My husband participates in Rock Steady Boxing classes. Well worth the time as it is geared specifically for PD people

    • marjorie-weiss

      Member
      November 3, 2021 at 10:35 am

      By the way he has had PD for 20 years and is 67 years old. He has also had DBS on both sides of his brain.

  • gregg-i-daniels

    Member
    November 3, 2021 at 6:06 am

    As Charles indicated above, how do we measure whether exercise really delays the disease on an individual basis?  On the other hand statistics show that people who exercise regularly tend to progress slower than those who don’t.  I have always exercised regularly doing a variety of things; weights, cardio, boxing, mountain bike, dirt bike, etc.  I have no way of knowing if it is slowing the progression but my neurologist says I look great for having PD for 9 1/2 years and I know if I don’t exercise I don’t feel as well.  I also believe in challenging mental exercise such as taking college level classes via internet.  I certainly am not as sharp as I used to be and not as fit as I was when younger but I do believe I am better off doing these things than just giving in to this disease.

  • beth-t-browne

    Member
    November 3, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Does exercise cause Dopamine to return to the brain?  How is it helping? I exercised faithfully for 20 yrs after my cancer.  Went three times a week.  Worked out an hour and a half using weights, treadmill, etc.  Two doctors recently have told me that those 20 yrs are helping me now.  I am 84, and no one knows I have this disease until I tell them.  My tremors give me away sometimes.  My balance is better when I am out walking than in my small apartment.  I have learned not to turn too quickly and be very careful bending over and getting up.  I stopped exercising when I was 74.  I continued to walk and climb three flights of stairs daily, more than once.  But now I am back to a good work out without with a professional twice a week, and the treadmill in between, and dancing and doing some things in my apartment.  I am on my feet pretty much the entire day, giving out around 7 or 8.  With osteoarthritis, I sometimes have to get on the heating pad at 7.  I pray God will keep me at this stage longer.  Started my third year in July of this year.

  • charles-h-levin

    Member
    November 4, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I believe the answer is yes … This article mentions the study that my doctor has stressed to me … 30 continuous minutes at 80-85 percent of your max heart rate … I do this on an elliptical … it takes me about eight minutes to get into that zone … then I turn on my Apple Watch to make sure I stay there …

    https://www.uchealth.org/today/can-exercise-help-patients-gain-ground-on-parkinsons-disease/

    In addition, I do weights and straps, crunches, yoga, and dancing (salsa) … I may add pickle ball soon …

    cl

     

  • krukar

    Member
    November 4, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Of course this is my favorite question. Really I don’t know the answer but I  am 65 years old next week and was diagnosed ‘officially ‘ 10/20. Since 8/20 I have been doing ‘LSVT’ daily almost. My routine helps my affect. It can be found on the Blessings Health Care website. There are 9 different 30 minute routines all free. I also do 30 minutes of my made up routine.  OT or PT sessions weekly. Massage twice a month. I hope it helps but being proactive definitely helps my attitude. Blessings, Mike

     

     

     

     

  • donnamsl

    Member
    November 9, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    I believe it does but it makes me feel so alone and I can’t afford to join a gym.

    • marjorie-weiss

      Member
      November 9, 2021 at 8:06 pm

      Try some online things on youtube. There are lots of them for PD patients.

  • valtiree

    Member
    November 10, 2021 at 4:17 am

    Not sure if exercise is effective in delaying PD as my main form of exercise is busy daily living but I do 2 exercise classes each week and find the balance sections exacerbate my mild tremor into something much more severe. So much so I am thinking of quitting the classes.

    • charles-h-levin

      Member
      November 11, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      Don,

      I notice an increase in my tremor for a bit right after vigorous exercise (which I do religiously four days a week). But in the bigger picture, I would say that my tremor is barely noticeable most of the day … and I suspect the exercise (and meds) are the reason.

      cl

  • beth-t-browne

    Member
    November 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting Don how this disease affects us all differently, but some the same.

    I think the classes are helping me, mostly by increasing my energy level and not having the fatigue I was was.  But, it has not stopped the tremors so far, but I have not been doing the class ones but a couple of weeks.

    My doctor thinks Rytary will get the Dopamine I need in me, and that is why he is pushing it.  I sometimes seem to shake more after taking the medicine.  And, I am only taking 1/2 4x a day.

    I got my booster shot yesterday.  I usually get up twice during the night to go to the bathroom.  This morning when I got up at 7am I could hardly move.  Every bone and muscle in my body hurt so bad.  I went back to bed with the hot pad.  I finally got up again at 9:30 and stayed up, and have been moving around, and starting to feel better.  I got 1/2 dose of the Moderna.

  • timber4986

    Member
    January 11, 2023 at 3:39 am

    My husband was diagnosed in 2014.  We have always been very active and believed in exercise as a way of life.  Therefore we are dedicated even more now. We belong to a small group of 70+ year olds who do a “crossfit” type of exercise designed for our age group twice a week. Our coach incorporates strength, balance, cardio etc.  My husband is the only PD person in the group.  He is also the oldest, having just turned 80.  We also take private duet Pilates lessons twice per week. I love exercising with him.  I reap the benefits as well! (I am 79) Pilates is fantastic for remaining flexibility.   We also walk about 2 miles/day on the other days.  We take Sundays off!  As for paying for these lessons we feel one cannot put a price on maintaining oneself.. Some people think nothing of having a Starbucks latte or spending $$$ on a meal in a restaurant in one go! So to answer the question, yes we believe  exercise has played a huge role in delaying the progression.

  • annamaria-b

    Member
    February 1, 2023 at 1:37 am

    I was diagnosed in 2018 and I am now 64 ( the main condition is tremors in my left hand)   In addition to at least one hour 5 km walking  daily, one hour pilates with props routine twice a week (I follow the beginners exercises in a wonderful book by Ellie Herman’s that was given to me by my Californian friend and professional pilates teacher), some tai chi for beginners and elastic band routines that I learned from Harvard online courses, I invested in a Technogym runner and cyclette for a three hours a week . MyTechnogym app has sections for everybodys level  and they are fun too.. Recently I added to my home gym a Technogym elliptical machine  (that I can use even while talking over the phone) and I could quantify the improvements at least in balance: before the elliptical, I could stand on my left foot ( the left hand is the one with tremors) barely for about 20 seconds. After the elliptical I could regain my balance for up to 12 minutes standing only on  my left foot! So with exercise it is possible not only to delay but even to improve! Two days ago I walked for 15 km crossing three main parks in Rome up to Castel Sant’Angelo with no problems at all.  According to my neurologist the medications I am taking are still at an omeopatic level. 

    • ally

      Moderator
      February 14, 2023 at 7:50 pm

      Annamaria, you sound more active than most folks I know who don’t live with Parkinson’s! I’m very impressed by your commitment to staying active and not letting PD slow you down. Have you always been an active/fit person or did you become more active post-diagnosis?

  • krukar

    Member
    February 15, 2023 at 7:44 am

    Hi Ally,

    Fraya and I have been active throughout our marriage. We have always walked it was 5 miles per day, now it is about 1 mile. I have been doing Yoga twice a week on line  with Norton neuroscience Institute , 502-559-3221 Phone. They have lots of classes and they are free. I also do massage 2 times a month. In Sedona I go to PT once a week and Accupuncture once a week. I now ride an exercise bike daily for 20 minutes.(trying). I have been taking Neuralli for 4 months, a Probiotic. All we can do is try. It is a great project. Blessings, Mike

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • marknicholson

    Member
    February 17, 2023 at 9:23 am

    The answer surely is yes, or at least I hope so. Any exercise is good for one and I sure hope it slows degeneration.
    I am 73 & I try and exercise daily…swimming, 40 press ups, 20 mins on bike, weights and rowing but mainly dog walks up v steep hills at 8000 ft

  • polkadot

    Member
    February 17, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Yes, yes, and YES!  There is a collaborative between dopamine and exercise. I recently did my own experiment re same. Late last year, I was taking 1.5 Sinemet every 3 hours, alarms set. I took it without thinking, until one day I noticed my left hand wasn’t bouncing, my left leg was not moving. I skipped that dose and began noticing. My exercise routine is rigid: M/W/F = 1.5 hours of bike/treadmill/free weights, plus 1 or 2 recent Physical Therapy exercise specifically targeted for strengthening my left leg. I had just finished 8 sessions of PT. Tuesday/Thursday: floor/chair Yoga plus complete routine of PT exercises = 1 hour. Weekends=mixed exercise of some sort. By mid-January, I was down to 2-2.5 Sinemet per day, only taking Sinemet when necessary. I reported this to my M&D neurologist who said: “If it works for you, it works for me.” I trust her. So, yes, exercise works!

    • ally

      Moderator
      March 2, 2023 at 3:12 pm

      Barbara, thanks so much for sharing your personal experience! That’s awesome!

  • eve-l-howard

    Member
    March 7, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Exercise for me does the following:

    1.  Keeps the brain healthy, possibly heal, possibly support dopamine levels (a bit of research supports this), it can’t hurt.

    2.  Strengthens the body, helps w/flexibility/less rigid, helps lift the spirits.

    3.  Is a strong tool to lighten PD symptoms and may delay progression. There is a lot of research around 150 mins of vigorous exercise/week may delay progression.

    4.  I walk briskly and over uneven terrain (1/week), I walk around the neighborhood (5/week), I do 30 mins on the elliptical – vigorous 3x/week-wish it was more-this really makes a difference.

  • Jon Busch

    Member
    March 7, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    I joined a gym in 2003 and am still there. I was diagnosed in 2009 but continued going to the gym 5 days a week for probably another 8 years. I was mostly doing cardio stuff. In the last six months my PD has progressed and I cut back to every other day. My workout recovery takes longer. I’m 81 and some of the guys at the gym help me occasionally when I’m having a hard time getting shirts off and shoes tied but I’m still independent. I absolutely believe that exercise on a regular basis has been responsible for the slow progression. Now if I could just control the dyskenesia.

  • cedric-dejean

    Member
    March 8, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Yes, I’m convinced that’s exercising can slow down progression of Parkinson.

    I’ve been diagnosed in 2014. After stopping to work in 2019 I decided to go to Mauritius to learn kite surfing. I will one day explain you in details what is my mental and physical training to still be today able to kite everyday or jogg 20km.  Kiting has such a positive effect on Parkinson syndrome that I finally spent the last three years kiting everyday.

    After soon 9 years living with this illness, I can say Parkinson is the greatest thing it happened to me but in the same time the most terrible. Most people do not see I am suffering from Parkinson. My neurologist and myself  believe I found something which could help some of you.

    Let me know if you are interested to know more about me and I will write you more.

    Warm regards to all of you suffering in silence and to their families taking care of them.

  • kg-raphael

    Member
    March 10, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Unfortunately, while personal experience can tell you whether you “feel better” after you exercise, there is no way that it can tell you whether your exercise regimen has changed the course of your PD progression. There is quite a bit of variability in progression of PD symptoms across individuals. You cannot know how you would being functioning long term without exercise. Believing that exercise slowed progression is not science; it is only belief.

    Although review papers often incorrectly state that “exercise slows PD progression,” that is an unknown right now. There is a major confusion in the research literature and subsequent messaging to the public and people with PD: Yes, randomized controlled clinical trials of people with PD randomly assigned to (especially high intensity) exercise versus not assigned to similarly intensive exercise do score better on blind assessors’ ratings of motor symptoms as well as symptom self-ratings of health and symptoms. But are those temporary changes? Maybe but maybe not.

    One would need to use a biomarker like DATScan, one strongly associated with disease progression. The multisite Northwestern Phase III SPARX3 trial plans to compare DATScans on individuals randomly assigned to high versus moderate intensity treadmill exercise for 18 months. For more information about participating, go to: https://www.sparx3pd.com/  .  They are actively recruiting people with PD in 25 different locations throughout the USA (one site in Canada right now).  Unfortunately, if you are currently exercising regularly now or taking PD meds, you are not eligible. More eligibility criteria can be reviewed at the website I link above. It’s a very important study; if you don’t qualify but know someone recently diagnosed who doesn’t regularly exercise, please refer them to the website.

    • gregg-i-daniels

      Member
      April 27, 2023 at 9:39 am

      KG,
      Everything you state in your message is true regarding that there is no actual scientific “proof” that exercise delays the progression. As a science oriented individual, I can appreciate that. However, it is a fact that people who exercise are statistically better off than those who do not, whether they have PD or not. Statistically significant over a very large population sample. It is a fact and not theory or hypothesis. So, why would we expect PD patients not to benefit from exercise? No one has come forward to at least in this forum to state that exercise has caused their PD to worsen. I will say it will be interesting to find out what level of exercise is beneficial to PD patients. Hopefully, the new study will recruit participants of varying ages and length of time with the disease and healthy participants of varying ages as well. There are many variables to control also, such as what types of exercise are more beneficial than others, age of participants, other health issues, etc. There are so many types of exercise that I am sure a good many cannot be tested. Hopefully, the experimental rigor you are hoping for can be managed. I look forward to the results.

  • bruce-closser

    Member
    April 27, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Based on my experience, the answer is a resounding, “yes!”

    I was diagnosed in 2019, although I had been having symptoms for four or five years prior to that. The combination of exercise and medication‘s (250 mg of carbidopa/levodopa  every six hours, along with pramipexole as a dopamine agonist, has brought my disease progression to a halt.

    my exercise program consists of downhill, skiing and cross-country skiing in the winter along with mountain, biking and road biking in the summer. I follow a weightlifting regimen with free weights year around.

    I’m 78 years old and one week from today I start a cross country bicycle journey. The route I’m taking is 4200 miles long from Yorktown, Virginia to Astoria Oregon and I hope to be finished by mid or late August. I’m trying to be the poster child for exercise and Parkinson’s!

     

    • ally

      Moderator
      May 4, 2023 at 3:39 pm

      Chiming in to share a link to Bruce’s story about how he’s preparing for the 4200-mile bike trek! Bruce submitted it for this year’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month spotlight campaign. Thanks again, Bruce!

  • Susan Schlager

    Member
    January 10, 2024 at 7:32 pm

    This isn’t related to this question, but I am wondering if anyone has heard of the BIG therapy program? i heard about it from a friend and asked my husband’s neurologist to write him a script. It is the best thing that has happened to him. The premise is to not let the Parkinson’s not limit your mobility. The therapist is retraining him to go beyond the Parkinson’s limitations. I am not sure why this isn’t the first thing every neurologist prescribes for the patient. It has given my husband control of his Parkinson’s rather than the Parkinson’s having control of him. Ask your doctor about it.

    • Nic

      Member
      January 16, 2024 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Susan, by BIG you mean LSVT BIG? https://www.lsvtglobal.com/LSVTBIG

      My initial neurologist put me in touch with a charity that helped fund a neurological pysiotherapy clinic, who taught LSVT BIG. It’s a great course (I did it in 2022) and although I’m quite early on in my PD journey, I’ve found it quite useful. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I have some measure of control over my symptoms.

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