Marios Politis: Physical Activity and Parkinson’s Disease


Professor of Neurology and Neuroimaging Marios Politis has conducted extensive research into the pathophysiology of movement disorders. This article will explore the benefits of physical activity and exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease.

A growing body of research suggests that being active can help people manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, with studies suggesting that exercise has a positive impact on both physical and mental health for those living with the condition.

A report published by Parkinson’s UK suggests that the more physically active the individual, the easier it is to live well with Parkinson’s disease. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact in terms of lessening both physical and mental Parkinson’s symptoms. In fact, research suggests that staying active can be as important as taking medication in terms of taking control and managing the condition. Experts suggest that just 2½ hours of physical activity per week can help people with Parkinson’s to manage their symptoms.

Just as Parkinson’s symptoms vary from person to person, so too does the right physical activity. Whatever form of exercise the individual chooses, regular participation is important. Finding an activity they enjoy encourages people to push themselves, helping them to maintain momentum in the long-term.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation advocates exercise as one of the most powerful Parkinson’s disease treatments available today, with most doctors recommending a safe and enjoyable regimen that helps people with the condition to manage their personal symptoms.

The universal benefits of regular exercise are well-documented, helping people to improve their physical health and feel better overall. However, for people with Parkinson’s disease, exercise has been shown to provide specific benefits.

Studies have linked being physically active to reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s in the first place, as well as slower disease progression. Scientists do not yet know why, but exercise appears to help brain cells stay healthy.

Exercise is particularly helpful in treating common Parkinson’s symptoms like balance issues and constipation. Regular physical activity also helps to build strength, which is linked to improved brain health and better management, or even a reduction of other symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease can be an isolating condition. However, for many people, exercise is a group activity they enjoy with family and friends, helping them to remain socially connected. Staying active in the community has also been shown to ease Parkinson’s symptoms.

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