Physical Activity Provides Protection from Parkinson’s Disease

Research out of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), identified in the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between physical activity and Parkinson’s disease, offers important information for the prevention and reduced impact of this debilitating condition.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder which manifests generally after the age of 50 years old. The disease destroys the brain cells which produce the hormone, dopomine necessary for motor control. The condition is characterized by tremor, slow movements, postural instability and body rigidity.

The study and its findings appeared in the February, 2005,  journal Neurology and identified that the men who were the most physically active at the start of the study enjoyed a 50% lower risk than the men in the study who were not physically active.

For the women in the study, while exercise and activity at the earlier ages showed a lower risk of the disease, the relationship was not considered to be “statistically significant” and there was no demonstrated advantage to exercise and activity later in life.

The study contained more than 48,000 men and 77,000 women, who were free of Parkinson’s. During the course of the study 387 cases of Parkinson’s disease were diagnosed. As part of the study, inquiries on activities such as walking, hiking, jogging, running, bicycling, lap swimming, tennis, squash, racquetball, aerobic exercises and other activities were included. They were also queried about the number of stairs they climbed per day.

The study outcomes indicated that most especially for men regular levels of daily activity is an important risk reducing factor for Parkinson’s disease and that as with many other conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc., exercise and activity is a critical component in preventing the development and intensity of  chronic and debilitating conditions.

The recommendation of positive daily exercise – physical activity that the individual both enjoys and they can easily integrate into their lifestyle – cannot be over stated. Physical activity and exercise have the ability not only to prevent disease and enhance our mobility, it can also increase our longevity so that we are not just living better and healthier, we are also living longer! Consider finding a daily exercise that you can live with and give yourself this important health advantage.

With all good wishes,

Copyright 2010 – G. Donadio