The effects of balance training and high-intensity resistance training on persons with idiopathic Parkinson's disease

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Aug;84(8):1109-17. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(03)00046-7.


Objective: To assess immediate and near-term effects of 2 exercise training programs for persons with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD).

Design: Randomized control trial.

Setting: Public health facility and medical center.

Participants: Fifteen persons with IPD.

Intervention: Combined group (balance and resistance training) and balance group (balance training only) underwent 10 weeks of high-intensity resistance training (knee extensors and flexors, ankle plantarflexion) and/or balance training under altered visual and somatosensory sensory conditions, 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days. Groups were assessed before, immediately after training, and 4 weeks later.

Main outcome measures: Balance was assessed by computerized dynamic posturography, which determined the subject's response to reduced or altered visual and somatosensory orientation cues (Sensory Orientation Test [SOT]). Muscle strength was assessed by measuring the amount of weight a participant could lift, by using a standardized weight-and-pulley system, during a 4-repetition-maximum test of knee extension, knee flexion, and ankle plantarflexion.

Results: Both types of training improved SOT performance. This effect was larger in the combined group. Both groups could balance longer before falling, and this effect persisted for at least 4 weeks. Muscle strength increased marginally in the balance group and substantially in the combined group, and this effect persisted for at least 4 weeks.

Conclusion: Muscle strength and balance can be improved in persons with IPD by high-intensity resistance training and balance training.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Tensile Strength / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome