Parkinson’s Foundation Launches International Cycling Event to Promote Exercise, Raise Funds

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by Mary Chapman |

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Parkinson's Revolution fundraiser

The Parkinson’s Foundation is launching a new initiative called Parkinson’s Revolution, a global cycling event designed to highlight the benefits of exercise in Parkinson’s disease while also raising funds for research.

A new signature event for the foundation, Parkinson’s Revolution is an indoor cycling program taking place Feb. 8 at studios in seven U.S. cities — Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The program will also involve select locations in Canada and the United Kingdom. The fundraising goal for each site is $10,000.

“Parkinson’s Revolution is a great example of how the international [Parkinson’s] community is rallying together to combine the benefits of exercise and critical fundraising for research in one event,” John Lehr, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “We are honored to work alongside Parkinson Canada and Parkinson’s UK to further our mission to make life better for people with Parkinson’s.”

In a high-energy environment including motivational music and instruction, participants of all abilities will select either a 90- or 45-minute ride as individuals or as part of a team. Supporters who can’t make it in person may saddle up at home or a local studio and raise funds as “virtual riders.” The foundation is asking each person to commit to fundraising a minimum of $250.

Money raised will go directly toward research, resources, and patient care. In addition to offering an opportunity to meet fellow supporters, each Parkinson’s Revolution event will include information about the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Click on a city or “virtual ride” at this site to register. After signing up, participants will be sent tools needed to reach — or exceed — fitness and fundraising goals.

Exercise is particularly important for Parkinson’s patients, helping them maintain balance, mobility, and the ability to do daily tasks. Scientists have found that those who exercise at least 2.5 hours weekly also experience a slower decline in their quality of life.

In addition, researchers have studied the brains of mice that exercised under conditions similar to a human being on a treadmill. While exercise did not increase the number of neurons or amount of dopamine in mice’s brains, it did prompt their brains to use dopamine more efficiently.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate movement and emotional response. A lack of it is associated with neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s, which affects nearly 1 million U.S. residents and 10 million individuals globally.

Watch this Parkinson’s Revolution video from the Parkinson’s Foundation: