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Exercise: A possible adjunct therapy to alleviate early Parkinson disease

By , Jennifer Childers, MS, PA-C  www.jaapa.com 

Read the entire article here. Highlights follow.



  • Gait training, resistance, balance/coordination, activities of daily living, and tandem cycling improve motor abnormalities in Parkinson disease (PD).
  • Self-assessment of patients with PD following exercise regimens shows improvement in cognitive functioning and reduced depression.
  • Positive effects of exercise on symptoms of PD result in a better quality of life.
  • While further research is needed to address long-term effects and influence on later stages of PD, clinicians should consider implementing exercise in conjunction with pharmacologic therapy.


Parkinson disease has become a growing problem worldwide. Within the past decade, scientists have begun to explore nonpharmacologic treatments, especially exercise, as possible adjunct or alternative therapy. The literature discussed in this article presents positive data regarding the impact of exercise on motor, cognitive, and emotional complications. Clinicians should consider recommending activities, such as gait and resistance training, balance/coordination exercises, continued participation in ADLs, and tandem cycling, to individuals with mild and moderate PD. The long-term effect of exercise and its impact on later stages of the disease are still unknown. In vivo studies examining the role of exercise on brain chemistry in PD should also be considered in order to better understand the mechanism behind improvement of symptoms.


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