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Does Exercise Help Slow Down the Progression of Parkinson's Disease?

By Sharin Griffin ; Updated July 18, 2017

Parkinson's disease strikes fear into the hearts of many at just the mere mention of its name. A chronic neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson's causes your natural nerve impulses to progressively decline, complicating natural controlled movement. Along with dietary assistance, exercise is regularly prescribed to help ease Parkinson's symptoms and possibly slow the disease progression.


Research on Parkinson's disease has mainly focused on rate of impairment through the course of this debilitating disease. With the scientific community's knowledge of Parkinson's comes research into delaying its progression. Studies on exercise are gaining momentum. In the journal BMC Neurology, researchers outlined a two-year study in 2010 to look at the effects of regular exercise on the overall onset of mobility limitations. According to 2013 review published in Movement Disorders, preliminary studies suggest that exercise can improve mobility in Parkinson's patients.

Exercise programs

With limitations in every range of movement, exercising your whole body may provide you with better results than just going to the gym for target training. According to the New York Times, stretching your muscles to keep them flexible while moving all joints in passive range of motion exercise are beneficial to helping control your body. Exercise such as walking in place, swinging your arms or knee bends can go a long way in making sure you stay mobile longer throughout your fight with Parkinson's disease.


Parkinson's disease has many effects on your body as it progresses through the years. According to "Parkinson's Disease: Diagnosis and Clinical Management" by Stewart A. Factor and William J. Weiner, life expectancy can be extended up to 20 to 30 years after diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. With decline of movement, speech and memory, medication remains the main treatment course with surgery being beneficial in treating symptoms in some more severe cases.


The New York Times states that dietary changes have not been proven effective at slowing the progression of Parkinson's. However, according to Factor and Weiner, exercise does slow progression. With ongoing research, answers may become clearer as to how much of an impact exercise has on Parkinson's and how it can be utilized in more aggressive treatment options.

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