Beat Parkinson’s with Physical Activity
Be it leisure-time exercise, household chores, or occupational engagements, modest physical activity may lower the risks of Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson's Disease is characterized by a loss of dopaminergic neurons, which leads to tremors and difficulty with movement and walking. Karin Wirdefeldt, from Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), and colleagues followed 43,368 individuals enrolled in the Swedish National March Cohort to analyze comprehensive information on physical activity of all kinds. They assessed household and commuting activity, occupational activity, leisure time exercise, and total daily physical activity. All participants were free of Parkinson’s disease in October 1997, the start of the follow-up period. Study participants were followed from this baseline until date of diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, date of death, date of emigration, or the end of the follow-up period in December 2010, whichever came first. In that time 286 cases of Parkinson’s disease were identified. Data analysis revealed that those who spent more than six hours per week on on household and commuting activity had a 43% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, as compared with participants who spent less than two hours per week on those activities. Among men, a medium level of total physical activity [a mean of 39.1 metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per day], as compared with a low level of total physical activity, was associated with a 45% lower Parkinson’s disease risk. The study authors submit that: “Our results indicate that a medium level of physical activity lowers Parkinson’s disease risk.”
Fei Yang, Ylva Trolle Lagerros, Rino Bellocco, Hans-Olov Adami, Fang Fang, Nancy L. Pedersen, Karin Wirdefeldt. “Physical activity and risk of Parkinson’s disease in the Swedish National March Cohort.” Brain, 19 Nov. 2014.