Parkinson's: Just 2.5 Hours of Exercise a Week Helps
Roughly one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson's disease, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. But new findings published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease suggest that just a few hours of exercise a week may help patients with the disease maintain a level of physical health and quality of life not enjoyed by patients who don't or cannot exercise.
Study leader Miriam R. Rafferty, Ph.D., of the Center for Education in Health Sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago and her colleagues report that Parkinson's patients who engaged in at least 2.5 hours of physical activity a week saw markedly slower declines in mobility and in various quality-of-life measures over two years than patients who exercised less than 150 minutes a week.
Researchers studied more than 3,400 men and women who were part of an initiative collecting data on clinical care and outcomes for Parkinson's patients in North America, Israel, and the Netherlands. The study employed the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, in which patients rise from a seated position, walk about 10 feet, turn around, and sit back down, and the Parkinson Disease Questionnaire to measure quality of life metrics.
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