Mobility improves after high intensity aerobic exercise in individuals with Parkinson's disease

J Neurol Sci. 2019 Apr 15:399:187-193. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2019.02.031. Epub 2019 Feb 21.


Emerging literature indicates aerobic exercise improves the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the impact of aerobic exercise on functional locomotor performance has not been evaluated systematically. The aim of this project was to determine the impact of an 8-week high intensity aerobic exercise intervention on Timed Up and Go (TUG) performance in PD. Fifty-nine participants with idiopathic PD completed 24 aerobic exercise sessions over 8 weeks. Two modes of exercise were utilized: forced (FE) and voluntary (VE). A mobile application was used to gather biomechanical data for the characterization of the TUG subtasks: Sit-Stand, Gait, Turning, and Stand-Sit. Participants were assessed in an off medication state at: 1) baseline, prior to any exercise intervention, and 2) after completion of exercise treatment. At baseline, the VE group completed the TUG in 9.41 s, while the FE group completed the TUG significantly faster in 8.0 s. Following the exercise intervention, the VE group decreased TUG time to 8.9 s (p < .01). Both exercise groups demonstrated significant improvements in Turning Velocity, time of Gait phase and Stand-Sit duration. Overall mobility in participants with PD was significantly improved after high intensity aerobic exercise training. Improvements in turning and gait speed, and in Stand-Sit times indicate exercise is effective in improving functional aspects of mobility that are often associated with falls and quality of life measures. These results support the use of high intensity aerobic exercise for improvements in functional lower extremity performance in a PD population.

Keywords: Consumer electronics device, Exercise; Parkinson's disease; Timed up and go.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*