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Short Daily Strolls Alleviate Parkinson's Symptoms

Update Date: Jul 02, 2014 04:44 PM EDT

A short daily stroll may help treat Parkinson's disease symptoms, according to a new study.

Researchers found that patients who suffer mild to moderate form of the disease could improve their motor function, mood, fatigue, fitness and cognition by walking.

"The results of our study suggest that walking may provide a safe and easily accessible way of improving the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and improve quality of life," study author Ergun Y. Uc, MD, with the University of Iowa in Iowa City and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Iowa City, said in a news release.

The latest study involved 60 people who participated in sessions of walking at moderate intensity. Participants were asked to wear heart rate monitors three times a week for 45 minutes per session for half a year.

The findings revealed that the average walking speed was about 2.9 miles per hour, and 47 percent of participants met moderate intensity aerobic exercise. Researchers also found that walking enhanced motor function and mood by 15 percent, attention/response control scores by 14 percent, reduced tiredness by 11 percent, and boosted aerobic fitness and gait speed by 7 percent.

"People with mild-moderate Parkinson's who do not have dementia and are able to walk independently without a cane or walker can safely follow the recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults, which includes 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity, and experience benefits," Uc concluded.

The findings were published in the July 2, 2014, online issue of Neurology®.

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