Free talk to focus on exercise benefits for Parkinson’s disease sufferers

Research scientists at the University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SSES) will present their findings on the benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) at a free event on World Parkinson’s Day Thursday 11 April 2019.

The event takes place from 19.00-21.00 in the Pilkington Building at the University’s Medway campus at Chatham Maritime and will include a presentation from the Neurodegeneration Imaging Group at King’s College London, who will talk about their investigations into different therapies in disorders such as PD.

PD is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, which usually leads to disability and no longer having an active lifestyle.  The SSES study is rare in that it has assessed the long term effects of exercise in improving and sustaining cognitive and physical function in people with Parkinson’s.

In October 2016, in collaboration with the charity Parkinson’s Equip and support group Medway Working Age Group, the SSES research team started a community-based exercise programme for people who have Parkinson’s on St Mary’s Island, Chatham.

Using data collected over one-year, they evaluated the effects of strengthening exercises – including cardiovascular, flexibility and balance training (multi-modal exercise) – on physical function, cognition and wellbeing in the participants.

The group of 22 people (18 male, 4 female: average age 65 years) attended a once-a-week group exercise session of 60 minutes.  They found that:

  • one measure of physical function was enhanced and the others maintained/preserved over the one-year period (note they would be expected to decrease in this population);
  • performance in one of the cognitive function measures increased whilst the others were maintained;
  • a once-a-week multi-modal group exercise programme for people with Parkinson’s has beneficial effects that could enhance the ability to undertake activities of daily living.

The SSES researchers say their study is significant in the field for its length as some participants have been involved for nearly three years with the programme ongoing.

The World Parkinson’s Day event is free but anyone wishing to attend is asked to sign up here: