Washington | Aerobic exercise may slow the advancement of Parkinson’s disease, by countering brain shrinkage from the progressive disorder of the nervous system, according to a neurologist. Aerobic exercise means vigorous exercise, which makes you hot, sweaty and tired. This could include activity such as walking briskly or using an elliptical machine, said J Eric Ahlskog, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in US. Stretching or balance exercises are also helpful for Parkinson’s symptoms, such as rigid muscles, slowed movement or impaired posture and balance, he said.
Scientific studies that show aerobic exercise enhances factors that potentially have a protective effect on the brain. For instance, aerobic exercise liberates trophic factors – small proteins in the brain that behave like fertiliser does when applied to your lawn. Exercise helps maintain brain connections and counters brain shrinkage from Parkinson’s disease as well as from the brain ageing, he said.
Modern physical therapy practises should incorporate aerobic exercise training and encourage fitness for patients with Parkinson’s disease, Ahlskog said. If you are walking a track try to pass other walkers. If you are doing repetitive exercises, slowly increase the number of repetitions, said Ahlskog. Take a brisk walk – outside, at the mall or on a track. There is no one-size-fits-all programme for exercise, and all aerobic exercise options should be on the table, he added. The findings were published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
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