According to new research, regular exercise such as cycling, walking, gardening, cleaning, and playing sports may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. This disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system as well as the parts controlled by the nerves. It can cause uncontrollable movements such as shaking, and stiffness. People might have difficulty with balance and coordination.
The study, published this week in the journal Neurology, found that female participants who exercised the most had a 25% lower rate of developing Parkinson's disease when compared to those who exercised the least, according to News Medical.
One of the study authors, Alexis Elbaz said in a statement that exercise is a low-cost way to improve health and hence, the study aimed to determine if there is a link between it and a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease. “Our results provide evidence provide evidence for planning interventions to prevent Parkinson’s disease" she added.
The research included more than 95,000 female participants, with an average age of 49 who did not have Parkinson's disease when the study began. The authors followed the participants for three decades during which more than 1,000 of them developed Parkinson's disease, according to News Medical.
The findings, after considering factors such as place of residence, age of first period and menopausal status, and smoking, showed that those in the highest exercise group had a 25% lower rate of developing Parkinson's disease than those in the lowest exercise group when physical activity was assessed at least 10 years before diagnosis. The results were similar after adjusting for diet or medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers also found that 10 years before the diagnosis, physical activity among those with Parkinson’s disease declined at a faster rate, which could be because of early symptoms of the disease, according to News Medical.
“With our large study, not only did we find that female participants who exercise the most have a lower rate of developing Parkinson's disease, but we also showed that early symptoms of Parkinson's disease were unlikely to explain these findings, and instead that exercise is beneficial and may help delay or prevent this disease," said Elbaz in the statement. The findings support creating exercise programs to help reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, she added.