Weight training for two years straight significantly improves motor function for those living with Parkinson’s disease, according to a new report from the American Academy of Neurology.
The study included 48 people living with Parkinson’s disease. Some underwent weight training while others participated in workouts that included flexibility, balance and strengthening exercises. Each group exercised for one hour, twice a week, for a two-year period.
Researchers measured the severity of motor symptoms, including tremors, after six, 12, 18 and 24 months, with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. Scores were taken when participants were not taking their regular Parkinson’s medication.
Although both forms of physical activity decreased motor skill symptoms during six consecutive months of exercise, those who underwent weight training experienced 7.3 percent improvement in their rating scale score after two years, while the fitness counts group returned to the same score they had at the start of the study.
“Our results suggest that long-term weight training could be considered by patients and doctors as an important component in managing Parkinson’s disease,” said Daniel Corcos, lead author of the research.