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A simple fitness routine can help Parkinson’s patients — and their caregivers

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This fitness routine is for people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.

Those who suffer from degenerative brain disorders and those who help them could benefit from pedaling a stationary bike in pairs, according to a small new study.

“Our study found that a unique cycling program pairing people with Parkinson’s disease with their care partners can improve the physical, emotional and mental well-being of both cyclists to improve their quality of life,” Jennifer Trilk, University of South Carolina. Greenville School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Nine Parkinson’s patients and their care partners cycled on indoor tandems while using a virtual reality platform – which showed them beautiful outdoor scenes – twice a week for eight weeks.

Both groups of volunteers took tests before and after completing the program.

People with Parkinson’s disease were asked how often they experience difficulties in daily life, particularly in relationships, communication and social situations.


A new small study has found that people with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers could benefit from pedaling a stationary bike in pairs.
A new small study has found that people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers could benefit from pedaling a stationary bike in pairs. Ljupco Smokovski – stock.adobe.com

Physical tests assessed the severity and progression of their disease, including how quickly they walked.

The results showed that people with Parkinson’s disease improved their overall quality of life, mobility, motor skills and walking speed, with an increase of 0.27 meters per second.

Participants were also asked to rate the extent to which they agreed with a series of six statements on a scale of one to five, including “I tend to bounce back quickly from difficult times” and “I go through usually have difficult times without too many problems.”

Parkinson’s patients did not show gains in resilience, the researchers noted, but caregivers did. Care partners also showed better depression scores after the cycling program.

“It’s just as important that care partners also receive care, which is why we included them as cycling partners,” Trilk said. “The goal of our small study was to determine whether tandem cycling was beneficial. The next step will be to confirm the results with subsequent studies that include more participants.

The study, published last week, will be presented next month at the 76th meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.th Annual meeting.


People with Parkinson's disease improved their overall quality of life, mobility, motor skills and walking speed – with an increase of 0.27 meters per second – after completing the eight-week program.
People with Parkinson’s disease improved their overall quality of life, mobility, motor skills and walking speed – with an increase of 0.27 meters per second – after completing the eight-week program. logo3in1 – stock.adobe.com

Parkinson’s disease, which affects nearly a million Americans, impacts the way people control their bodies. The disease is often characterized by slow movements, tremors, stiffness and difficulty walking.

Celebrities such as Ozzy Osbourne, Michael J. Fox and Neil Diamond have shared their journey with Parkinson’s disease.

Comedian Richard Lewis, who publicly revealed last year that he had been diagnosed with the illness, died last week at the age of 76.

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