Neurorehabilitation 2002; 17(2): 161-8
ABSTRACT: Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurologic disorder, which includes an inability to activate appropriate muscle activity. Very little research has analyzed aerobic exercise for PD patients. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a 16 week aerobic exercise intervention on aerobic capacity and movement initiation (MI) time for PD patients. With 8 PD subjects (Hoehn & Yahr stage 2), 4 completed the exercise intervention. Peak VO_2 scores significantly improved (26%) Choice MI improved from 532 ms to 415 ms, while simple MI improved from 285 ms to 261 ms. The improvement in aerobic capacity suggests that PD patients may benefit from exercise just as much as a normal population. The change in MI indicates that aerobic exercise may reduce the detrimental effects of neuromuscular slowing within PD patients, by improving the subjects’ ability to initiate and perform appropriate movement patterns.