An impaired ability to initiate walking is a common feature of postural instability and gait impairment in Parkinson's disease. While progressive resistance training (PRT) has been proposed to be an effective modality to improve balance and gait function in people with Parkinson's disease, there are a limited number of randomized trials and no studies have evaluated gait initiation performance. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the potential benefits PRT on GI performance in people with Parkinson's disease. Eighteen individuals with idiopathic PD were randomly assigned to either a twice weekly PRT program or a non-contact control group for 10 weeks. Biomechanical analysis of GI was performed pre- and post-intervention. Dependent variables of interest included the displacement of the center-of-pressure (COP) during the anticipatory postural phase of GI as well as the initial stride length and velocity. The PRT group demonstrated improvements in the posterior displacement of the COP and the initial stride length and velocity. There were no improvements in any variables for the control subjects. These results suggest that PRT may be an effective non-pharmacological and nonsurgical treatment to improve GI performance in PWP.
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