Previous studies have shown that people with Parkinson's disease (PD) benefit from a variety of exercise modalities with respect to symptom management and function. Among the possible exercise modalities, speedwork has been identified as a promising strategy, with direct implications for the rate and amplitude of nervous system involvement. Considering that previous speed-based exercise for PD has often been equipment, personnel and/or facility dependent, and often time intensive, our purpose was to develop a population-specific exercise program that could be self-administered with equipment that is readily found in fitness centers or perhaps the home. Fourteen individuals with PD (Hoehn-Yahr (H-Y) stage of 3.0 or less) participated in twelve 30-min sessions of low-resistance interval training on a stationary recumbent bicycle. Motor examination section of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), 10-meter walk (10mW), timed-up-and-go (TUG), functional reach, four-square step test (4SST), nine-hole peg test (9HPT) and simple reaction time scores all exhibited significant improvements (p < 0.05). These results add further support to the practice of speedwork for people with PD and outline a population-amenable program with high feasibility.
Keywords: Exercise; motor function; neurological diseases; quickness; symptom management mobility.