Exercise 'can help with Parkinson's disease'

Exercise 'can help with Parkinson's disease'

Exercise could help people with Parkinson's disease improve their balance, ability to move around and quality of life, new research has revealed.

Researchers studied 231 people with the condition who either received their usual care or took part in an exercise programme of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months.

This programme was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist. On average, 13 per cent of the exercise sessions were supervised, while the rest took place at the patient's home.

As a consequence of the exercise, the number of falls was reduced in those with less severe Parkinson's disease but not in those with the more severe form, when compared to a control group. 

A 70 per cent reduction in falls was reported in those who exercised compared to those who did not.

"These results suggest that minimally supervised exercise programmes aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson's should be started early in the disease process," said Dr Colleen Canning of the University of Sydney in Australia.