Parkinson’s disease might not be treatable, but recent studies have found that there’s a simple way to reduce early onset symptoms while slowing the stages through bicycling.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
It is estimated that nearly 10 million people suffer from Parkinson’s disease around the world with 1 million of them living right here in the United States. Parkinson’s disease results in uncontrollable movements and loss of coordination in the body due to malfunctioning or dying nerve cells.
The disease affects these cells that are responsible for producing the dopamine your body needs to control movements and as the disease worsens and the dopamine levels drop, the more severe the symptoms become.
A Simple Way to Help Slow Parkinson’s
Researchers have found that exercise can help slow the stages of Parkinson’s disease through high aerobic activities that require balance such as bicycling. In fact, riding a bike has recently been studied and praised for its neuroprotective outcomes for those with a neurodegenerative disease. It is exercises that demand attention, repetition and progression of difficulty that a Parkinson’s patient needs to reduce early onset symptoms.
What About Stationary Bikes?
It’s believed that activities such as riding a stationary bike or weight lifting does not help patients rather it’s the exercises that involve cognitive ability and learning such as bicycling outside that helps to spark nerve cell interaction to release the dopamine that those suffering from Parkinson’s disease lose on a daily basis.
So Why Exercise?
While it is especially important for those with neurodegenerative diseases to exercise, those suffering with Parkinson’s can require regular exercise at a higher intensity or for a longer length of time. This helps it to properly become a part of the treatment regimen.
In the journal of American Physical Therapy Association, Dr. King and Dr. Horak state that intense exercise can improve the brains “plasticity” to protect against disease that affect the nervous system and can even reverse motor deficits.
For example, Parkinson’s patients that are in stage 2 have both sides of their body affected. However, their balance is still intact. This means that riding a bicycle can reduce tremors, increase blood flow, improve muscle flexibility, and have less difficulties with daily activities.
Although exercise cannot reverse all Parkinson’s symptoms it’s important to know treatment possibilities and the positive outcomes it can have for you or your loved one.
Brody, J. (2017, January 23). Exercise Can Be a Boon to People With Parkinson’s Disease. The New York Times
The Regents of the University of California. (2012). Exercise and Physical Therapy. Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center.