Background: Several studies have clearly shown that physical exercise can reduce the progression of motor symptoms in Parkinson's Disease (PD). However, little is known about the effects of a Nordic Walking (NW) program in PD patients.
Objective: To determine the effects of a NW program on motor and non-motor symptoms, functional performances and body composition in PD patients.
Methods: Twenty PD patients (16M, 4F, 67.3±7.8 years) were enrolled and randomly assigned to NW group (NWg, n = 10) and Control group (Cg, n = 10). The training consisted in 2 sessions per week for 12 weeks. Training effects were assessed by functional and instrumental tests and motor and non-motor symptoms were assessed by UPDRS-III, Hoehn and Yahr scale, PD Fatigue Scale, Beck Depression Inventory-II, Starkstein Apathy Scale, and Non-Motor Symptoms Scale.
Results: Significant changes in resting HR, in walked distance (p < 0.05), and in lower limbs muscles strength (p < 0.005) were observed in NWg. Both balance abilities and safety with mobility were increased (p < 0.005). Significant variations in some circumferences and body composition were registered. Finally, a significant improvement in motor and non-motor symptoms was detected: UPDRS-III, HY scale, PFS-16, BDI-II, SAS, NMSS.
Conclusions: A tailored exercise program including NW proved to be an effective way to improve daily activities and both motor and non-motor symptoms in PD patients.
Keywords: Nordic Walking; Parkinson’s disease; body composition; functional performance; motor symptoms; non-motor symptoms.