Strength training improves the respiratory muscle strength and quality of life of elderly with Parkinson disease

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2019 Oct;59(10):1756-1762. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09509-4. Epub 2019 May 20.


Background: The progression of Parkinson disease can lead to respiratory muscle weakness, reduced peak expiratory flow and quality of life (QoL). The aim was to evaluate the effects of strength training on levels of respiratory muscle strength, peak expiratory flow and QoL of elderly with Parkinson disease.

Methods: A total of 28 patients were randomized into one of two groups: the control group (CG) comprised 16 participants, and the strength training group (STG) comprised 12 participants. All subjects maintained the standard pharmacological treatment for Parkinson disease, and the intervention group participated in a 16-week strength training program. The primary outcome was the measurement of respiratory muscle strength.

Results: The STG showed improved values of maximum inspiratory pressures (36.11±11.82 to 52.94±24.17; P=0.01), maximum expiratory pressures (56.67±22.08 to 71.04±33.71; P=0.03) and QoL (41.75±20.33 to 34±20.92; P=0.0054); there was no significant difference in the peak expiratory flow (336.11±198.04 to 380±229.57; P=0.09). The CG showed significantly decreased values of peak expiratory flow (336.88±183.40 to 279.37±125.12, P=0.02) and non-significant changes in the other variables.

Conclusions: Sixteen weeks of strength training improves the inspiratory and expiratory muscle strength and QoL of elderly with Parkinson disease. These findings suggest that strength training could be considered an adjunct therapeutic intervention for elderly with Parkinson disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*