Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) are not only burdened with disease-specific symptoms (i.e., bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor), but are also confronted with age-associated progressive loss of physical function, perhaps to a greater extent than neurologically normal adults. Suggestions for the inclusion of resistive exercise into treatment to attenuate these symptoms were made over 10 years ago, yet very few well controlled investigations are available. The objective of this review is to establish a clear rationale for the efficacy of resistance training in individuals with PD. Specifically, we highlight musculoskeletal weakness and its relationship to function as well as potential training-induced adaptive alterations in the neuromuscular system. We also review the few resistance training interventions currently available, but limit this review to those investigations that provide a quantitative exercise prescription. Finally, we recommend future lines of inquiry warranting further attention and call to question the rationale behind current exercise prescriptions. The absence of reports contraindicating resistive exercise, the potential for positive adaptation, and the noted benefits of resistance training in other populations may provide support for its inclusion into a treatment approach to PD.
2007 Movement Disorder Society