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.