walking, exercise, walking, exercise

•A review of 14 studies on treadmill training found that three studies show an immediate effect of increased walking speed, longer stride length and improved balance as early as after one treadmill session. Longer-term trials, numbering 11 in all, demonstrated not only safety, but positive benefits in gait speed, strike length and related quality of life even several weeks later.

•And at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Alberts et al. found that when people with Parkinson’s pedaled on a stationery bike 30% faster than their preferred “voluntary” rate (or forced exertion), they not only gained in aerobic fitness, but also showed improvement in motor function and coordination as well as manual dexterity. This improvement was retained some weeks after the exercise stopped.



17 Replies

  • Great study (thx for sharing it!). It lends credence to the 'neuroplasticity' theory I'm hoping will ultimately prove true: "On a day-to-day basis, people with PD who exercised moved more normally than those who did not."

    And the preferred theory from the cited USC study (and plenty of anecdotal evidence):

    "Based on these findings, they believe that exercise (and the resultant GDNF thereby produced) may be helping the brain to maintain old connections, form new ones and restore lost ones. They suggest that, in certain situations, the neuroplasticity created from exercise in patients with PD may actually outweigh the effects of neurodegeneration."

  • Hi RoyProp. Dr Norman Doidge's new book tells the story of why "Exercise" changes the brain. You can read a recent press release on his book at:



  • John, did you gave any side effects with azilect?

  • Hi Michaela. I did not take Azilect! I took Eldepryl, which is a similar medication. to Azilect.

    Yes! I became very hypertensive. My blood pressure went up to 260/190. That is very scary!

    I have heard that the blood pressure can also go down to low levels with MAO-b inhibitors. So, there you have it!


  • Justifies a lot of what you've been preaching for years, huh John?

  • Hi Marion. Yes! It is such a pity! Walking is not always easy to contemplate doing. If we are in any way uncertain that it will do us any good, because our neurologist does not think I have Pd or he/she does not believe that fast walking can reverse Parkinson's then we are not going to put the effort into doing the walking, preferring to carry on taking useless drugs.


  • Have to agree body is better for exercise, as mine proves when it misses exercise out of daily routine. Be aware that running machines are not the best things to use when running, as balance issues have caused difficulties on those machines. Can walk on them. Keep active!

  • The evidence is very convincing. However the forced exercise in many of the rat studies use electrical shock as an adverse motivation. Most exercise specialists recommend programs that are fun so that they are rewarding and enduring for optimal affect.

  • I really enjoy my Forced Exercise workout on my stationary bike because I am challenged to keep increasing my speed during the 3 30sec. bursts of speed within 10 minutes. No need for adverse motivation for me!

  • I use my little "forced exercise" bike every day! It was very inexpensive and it definitely helps me. I could tell a difference immediately with hand writing that had become illegible and microscopic! It's more normal now, and it also helps with a stiff back!

  • Allyn, what is "forced excercise" and where can I get such a bike.

  • The little bike I have is really just pedals - and it has an electric motor which pedals faster than I would just going by myself. I bought it through Amazon for $100. I have had it for almost 2 years now. Worth every penny.

    Years ago, a neurologist took one of his patients on a bike tour - with the patient riding on the back of a bicycle for two - so the patient was "forced" to pedal at the same speed as the rider in front - the trick being pedaling at a sustained speed of 80-90 rotations a minute - and they discovered it seemed to help with PD symptoms - especially hand writing!

    Since then, others have documented success with this also. There is a medical device that can be purchased for thousands - essentially the same thing as my little bike.

    Some people report using the same little pedals on a table to rotate the arms with success there also (for stiffness).

  • I start the week with 30 min on 2.5 speed, then on Tuesday i do 45 min of exercise, aerobics, Wednesday I do 45 min on 3.0 speed, on Thursday more aerobics 45 min. Friday I encrise to 3.4 speed 60 min and the week ends I rest and i believe I'm stopping the progression of my PD

  • That is really awesome, Serg. You're inspiring me. I'm walking very fast for 4 miles but only 3-4 days a week. It has noticeably improved my balance already, though, so that's good. I need to exercise more days.

  • Leilani that's what I do every day I'm addicted to the excersise of course I'm awere that our condition is for the rest of our life's and live with it positive

  • That's a great addiction. I'm gonna work on it. One question, though. Do you not get really exhausted and have to rest all day long the next day?


  • I can totally understand that treadmill walking would improve walking, balance and gait. When I feel my leg dragging and I feel tired of walking, I pretend that I'm walking on a treadmill. There's something about the way we walk on treadmills - I don't know if it's the way we balance, the muscles that we automatically use or the time that each leg is in contact with the ground, or a mixture of all sorts of things - that stops the dragging feeling after a while, and makes me walk more confidently, strongly and normally.

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