February 21, 2012

Weight Training for Tremors

(Ivanhoe Newswire)– It´s estimated six million people suffer from Parkinson's disease worldwide. With an estimated 50-60,000 new patients diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Studies now show that hitting the weights may help reduce symptoms of this incurable disease.

A recent study, compared two forms of exercise for Parkinson's disease, and suggested that weight training for two years significantly improves the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease compared to other forms of exercise such as stretching and balance exercises.

"While we have known that many different types of exercise can benefit Parkinson's patients over short time periods, we did not know whether exercise improves the motor symptoms of Parkinson's over the long term," Daniel Corcos, PhD, study author , University of Illinois, Chicago, was quoted as saying.

During the clinical trial, 48 people with Parkinson's disease were randomized to weight training, or assigned to the exercise known as fitness counts, which includes flexibility, balance and strengthening exercises. The two groups exercised for one hour, twice a week for two years.

Tremors and the severity of motor symptoms were measured using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) after six, 12, 18 and 24 months of exercise. These were scores calculated when the participants were not taking their medication.

Both forms of exercise showed a reduction in motor symptoms after six months of exercise. However, those who did weight training saw a 7.3 point improvement in their UPRDS score after two years, whereas the fitness counts group returned to the same scores 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," Corcos said.

SOURCE: The American Academy of Neurology, February 16, 2012