Effects of progressive resistance exercise in akinetic-rigid Parkinson's disease patients: a randomized controlled trial

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2017 Oct;53(5):651-663. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.17.04572-5. Epub 2017 Mar 13.


Background: Progressive resistance exercise (PRE) can have a positive effect in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the effect of PRE may vary with the clinical subtype of PD. To date, no study has assessed the effects of PRE in the different subtypes of PD.

Aim: The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of PRE in PD patients with akinesia and rigidity (AR-subtype).

Design: A randomized controlled trial was conducted.

Setting: Outpatients clinics of the Bierzo Parkinson Association (Ponferrada, Spain) and the Asturias Parkinson Association (Oviedo, Spain).

Population: Twenty-eight patients with AR-subtype PD were randomized into an Experimental Group (EG, N.=13) and Control Group (CG, N.=15).

Methods: Static posturography (Centre of Pressure -CoP- parameters), gait (the Ten-Meter Walk Test [TMWT]), freezing of gait (the Freezing of Gait Questionnaire [FOG-Q]), the motor portion of the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) and patient-perceived quality of life (the 39-item Parkinson's disease Questionnaire [PDQ39]), were assessed at pre-test, post-test, and re-test. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) (Borg >6-20 Scale) were recorded at the end of each PRE training session.

Results: The EG displayed significant ameliorations in Length (CoP parameters) from pre- to post-test (P=0.048), in speed of fast rhythm walking (TMWT) from pre- to post-test (P=0.000), and from pre- to re-test (P=0.027), and in the PDQ39 Score from pre- to post-test (P=0.024). No significant differences were detected in Area or Speed (CoP parameters), speed of preferred rhythm walking (TMWT), FOG-Q scores, or the motor portion of the MDS-UPDRS scores. The EG reported a mean RPE of 9.95 (between "very light" and "fairly light") for the whole training program.

Conclusions: These findings provide support for the use of PRE training in the rehabilitation of individuals with AR-subtype PD, as it can improve static posturography, gait, and quality of life. Furthermore, RPE scores showed that individuals with AR-subtype PD consider that PRE training require only light efforts.

Clinical rehabilitation impact: The PRE training can be a helpful and fruitful rehabilitation tool for AR-subtype PD patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spain
  • Treatment Outcome