Exercise interventions in individuals with Parkinson's disease incorporate goal-based motor skill training to engage cognitive circuitry important in motor learning. With this exercise approach, physical therapy helps with learning through instruction and feedback (reinforcement) and encouragement to perform beyond self-perceived capability. Individuals with Parkinson's disease become more cognitively engaged with the practice and learning of movements and skills that were previously automatic and unconscious. Aerobic exercise, regarded as important for improvement of blood flow and facilitation of neuroplasticity in elderly people, might also have a role in improvement of behavioural function in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Exercises that incorporate goal-based training and aerobic activity have the potential to improve both cognitive and automatic components of motor control in individuals with mild to moderate disease through experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Basic research in animal models of Parkinson's disease is beginning to show exercise-induced neuroplastic effects at the level of synaptic connections and circuits.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.