- Exercise interventions improve health-related quality of life (HRQL) and mobility in people with Parkinson's disease (PD).
- The HRQL benefit associated with 30-minute increases in exercise per week was greatest in people with advanced PD.
People who exercised regularly had significantly slower decline in health-related quality of life (HRQL) and mobility over a two-year period.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive condition that often results in mobility impairments and can lead to decreased HRQL and death. There is evidence that physical activity can delay decline in PD patients.
‘People with Parkinson's disease who maintained exercise 150 minutes per week had a smaller decline in quality of life and mobility over two years compared to people who did not exercise or exercised less.’
Health-related quality of life is a multi-dimensional concept that includes domains related to physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning
. It goes beyond direct measures of population health, life expectancy, and causes of death, and focuses on the impact health status has on quality of life.
Common Difficulties in Parkinson's Disease
Can Exercise Improve Quality of Life in Parkinson's Patients?
- Stooped posture
- Tremor or shaking
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulty in chewing, swallowing
- Difficulty in walking
- Trouble sleeping
In a study in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease
, researchers used data from 3400 participants. They provided data over two years, with information collected during at least three clinic visits.
The Parkinson Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) was used to measure patient-reported, PD-specific HRQL. Functional mobility was measured by the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, in which performance is tested by timing participants as they rise from a chair, walk three meters, turn, and return to a sitting position.
Regular Exercise for 150minutes/week
Dr. Miriam R. Rafferty, Northwestern University and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, said, "We found that people with Parkinson's disease who maintained exercise 150 minutes per week had a smaller decline in quality of life and mobility over two years compared to people who did not exercise or exercised less
. The smaller decline was significant for people who started the study as regular exercisers, as well as for people who started to exercise 150 minutes per week after their first study-related visit."
An unanticipated finding from the study was that the HRQL benefit associated with 30-minute increases in exercise per week was greatest in people with advanced PD
. These data have significant implications for making exercise and physical activity more accessible to people with more severe disability.
People with more advanced PD may have poor access to regular exercise, as their mobility impairments would limit their independent participation in existing community and group exercise programs.
"The most important part of the study," according to Dr. Rafferty, "is that it suggests that people who are not currently achieving recommended levels of exercise could start to exercise today to lessen the declines in quality of life and mobility that can occur with this progressive disease."
Although this study did not determine which type of exercise is best, it suggests that any type of exercise done with a "dose" of at least 150 minutes per week is better than not exercising
. "People with PD should feel empowered to find the type of exercise they enjoy, even those with more advanced symptoms," remarked Dr. Rafferty.
- Rafferty, Miriam R et al., Regular Exercise, Quality of Life, and Mobility in Parkinson's Disease: A†Longitudinal Analysis of National Parkinson Foundation Quality Improvement Initiative Data, Journal of Parkinson's Disease (2017)