Brisk walks may ease Parkinson's symptoms

By WEEK Producer

July 2, 2014 Updated Jul 2, 2014 at 9:20 PM CDT

A new study finds brisk walks may not only improve the motor functions of Parkinson’s patients, but they may ease non-motor symptoms like mood and depression, too.

Dr. Jay Alberts did not take part in the study but studies the effects of exercise on Parkinson’s patients at Cleveland Clinic.

"Some of these changes in mood and depression are very important in the quality of life of Parkinson’s patients," said Alberts. "Showing that exercise can improve these underscores that exercise really is medicine for Parkinson’s."

University of Iowa researchers studied 60 Parkinson’s patients.

They took part in moderately intense walking sessions, three times a week, for 45 minutes.

Results show after the six month study; brisk walking improved motor function and mood by 15 percent, reduced tiredness by 11 percent, and increased aerobic fitness and gait speed seven percent.

Researchers recommend people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s, who do not have dementia, and are able to walk independently without a cane or a walker; follow the recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults.

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