In a recent study, 231 adults with Parkinson’s disease aged on average 71 who had fallen or were judged at risk of falls were split randomly into two groups for 6 months.
- Usual care (the control group).
- Exercise group, which did 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises 3 times a week, which involved a monthly group exercise class led by a physical therapist and the remaining exercises on their own at home
For the overall group, there was no major difference in the rate of falls.
However, as planned ahead of time, they then analysed patients with milder disease.
For those with milder disease, there were 69% fewer falls in the exercise group and significant improvement on measures of balance and mobility, reduced fear of falling, and improved mood and overall quality of life.
Moral of the story – exercise early in the disease to get benefit.
Source: Neurology. 2015;84:304-312. Published online December 31, 2014. Abstract